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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Outdoor ads with a twist

A lot of outdoor ads (billboards etc) could fit a given formula quite easily:

Product name + catchy slogan (+5 points for a non-racist pun) + photo of domestic bliss

Outdoor ads often have the least attention directed to them out of all ad forms (except maybe those annoying youtube ads). For this reason, it is much more difficult to grab the viewers attention long enough to deliver a message… For some advertisements, this is where the creative juices can really get going.

Here are a couple of really successful outdoor ads (no puns required):

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“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read”

This is a quote from the great Leo Burnett. Leo Burnett was one of the true legends of Advertising whose work includes the Marlboro Man, Tony the Tiger, and many others. Leo Burnett is now an international company that produces some of the best advertising going round.

Some of the best advertising is successful as a result of having this simplicity at its heart. The target viewing audience for a lot of advertisements often lack the time or effort to fully consider the ad in front of them. This is why the most simple ads, the ones with a single driving message, will often produce the greatest effect.

Below is one of my favourite ads from Leo Burnett, so simple.

By Leo Burnett LTD

By Leo Burnett LTD

Samsung S4

The brilliant minds at Heimat Berlin show us that a simple campaign can often work best. The premise is simple: keep your eyes on the phone for 60 minutes and win it… Not as easy as it sounds once a few distraction have been added.

These entertainment forms of outdoor ads work great to generate hype from members of the public – something extremely valuable with social media. W.

Hello & Welcome

It’s 6.14pm, raining, and the lady driving in front of me hasn’t noticed the lights have changed…

Once again I find myself staring aimlessly out of the window at a billboard above me. It’s an ad for a job search company. A portly man is peering down the barrel of a large cannon. The ad reads “Cannon Safety Inspector. If it exists, you’ll find it on SEEK”.

I consider perhaps a job-search might be a good idea. At least to avoid these peak-hour commutes.

That’s really all that ad needed to accomplish, just to grab and guide my attention for a few seconds.

I think I have always enjoyed ads. I very much like the way an ad can persuade me or make me think of something, regardless of how stoic I claim to be. It was only on my first day of Uni that I really considered advertising properly. I was in my first Psychology lecture and the opening line delivered by my overly zealous lecturer was “Psychology can take you anywhere… just don’t let it take you into advertising”. I am not sure if it was some sort of reverse-psychology (actually I should probably know that!), but from that day I was keen.

My friends are often saying that they “hate ads”; the 15-second obligatory ad for denture gum at the start of a YouTube video just an irritating interruption. Yet these friends are often sending me links to “awesome” or “hilarious” ads. This makes me think that they do not “hate ads” (period) but rather just hate bad ads. That may seem like an obvious statement, which I suppose it is, but there seems to be this uniform consensus of what is a ‘good’ ad and what is not.

The question then remains: what really makes a good ad? Is it something that can really just be measured by how much it sells? Or, is it more important to make something clever?

So I’ll do my best to present you with advertising that I, personally, think is great… Maybe, in doing so, I’ll figure out some sort of formula for what makes a good ad – anything to avoid peak-hour.

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By Seek LTD