Top 5 Nike Ads of All Time

In 1971, a graphic designer was paid US$35 for her work designing the logo for the newly-founded sports brand Nike. Since then, this “Nike Swoosh” has become one of the most recognisable brand logos in the world with Nike being one of the leading sports brands of the world. Nike has also become an integral component of the very heart of sporting culture.

A large part of Nike’s success can be attributed to its marketing and brand promotion, equalled by few other companies. Nike has produced a vast amount of advertisements – across a variety of mediums. In this post, I’d like to show you a few that I think really stand out – each for different reasons. So here are, in my opinion, the top 5 Nike ads of all time (NB: in no particular order). Please comment with some of your favourite Nike/Sport advertisements!

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1. Michael Jordan’s Failure

In this ad for the Nike-owned Jordan Brand, we follow basketball legend Michael Jordan walking from the car to the arena. In a narration, we hear Jordan speak of all his failures; the number of shots he’s missed, the games he’s lost, as his primary driving force. An extremely powerful ad promoting hard work and determination.

This ad also demonstrates one of my favourite things present in the vast majority of ads: brand-focus. These ads aren’t there to promote a new shoe or t-shirt. They aren’t boasting low prices. It is a simple, potent message, followed by the brand logo. I think it is a beautiful. A poetic ad showing that greatness is not achieved with ease.

2. “Fate”

Another interesting aspect to the development of a sports-star – their upbringing. In this ad we see the journey of two pro NFL players, LaDainian Tomlinson and Troy Polamalu, from birth up until their first meeting – a collision in a professional NFL game. I guess when you get David Fincher to direct an ad, it’s always going to be a pretty interesting piece, but I think this ad does a great job of showing the aspirations and hard work of the two children in their progress towards success.

3. Earl and Tiger – NikeGolf

Another example of Nike pushing the envelope with an ad. Earl asks his son, Tiger Woods, some questions following the controversy surrounding his off-course behaviour. This ad is wonderfully simple – a lack of action in the photography helps the message stand out.

Nike was, somewhat controversially, one of just a couple of brands that continued sponsorship of Tiger after the allegations of infidelity arose. This ad was released in the wake of the scandal and acts to show that Nike is a brand that truly cares about sport culture and the athletes involved.

As a nice followup, nike released this ad after Tiger regained the world #1 ranking.

4. “My Better”

I love this ad. captivating cinematography and direction. Great message, full cast. Not much more to say

5. “Find Your Greatness”

One of my favourite Nike ads. Incredible simple action with a beautiful narration. The message is clear – greatness isn’t something reserved for a few. It is promoting the “Just Do It” slogan as a message, and it is delivered impeccably.

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