JUST get on and DO IT
Ever felt like Nike is having a go at you?
I know, it’s one of the very pinnacles of brand achievement.
There’s that mission ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world’. And ‘if you have a body, you are an athlete’.
The shoes and the clothes, as worn by Michael and LeBron, Christiano and Kylian, Serena and Rafa, Tiger and Rory.
The Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman back story, runner and coach.
The name, the Greek Goddess of victory.
The Swoosh. Speed, movement and performance in a brush stroke.
And ‘Just Do It’, inspired by Gary Gilmore’s final words before his execution, “let’s do it”. Empowerment and motivation.
All with a hint of irritation.
Nike have always tried to connect with everyone from people just starting to get in shape to the supreme athletes in the world.
But every now and then their frustration with us mortals does slip out.
There was the ‘No Excuses’ campaign in 2007 with Warhawk Matt Scott, an American basketball player.
He reels off in close-up a long list of why-not’s - “I’m too beat. I’m too slow. Too big. I ate too much for breakfast. I got a headache. My dog is sick. I can’t right now…”, ending with “I think I’ll sit this one. Man my feet hurt.”
Matt then slams down two basketballs on the court as the camera pulls back to show him moving away from the balls in his wheelchair.
The next year, 2008, Nike’s agency condensed the idea into four words on a poster in New York City. “Yesterday you said tomorrow.” Procrastinators everywhere winced.
That line then popped up in a video that went viral in 2015 featuring a shouting Shia LaBeouf.
It was actually an art project, a parody of the fitness and motivation industry. “What are you waiting for? Do it! Just do it! Yes you can. Just do it. If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.”
Because that’s the tension, isn’t it? If you had the motivation levels of Serena or Rafa, you’d be a pretty damn good tennis player whatever your natural talent.
But most of us never practice or only play when it’s sunny or say we’re too busy because, you know, life.
Except it’s rarely an external barrier. It’s almost all internal. The tension in Empowerment is the commitment required.
So let’s get on with it in 2024.
And let’s do it properly.
Crystal-clear targets and their deeper needs.
Insights with tensions.
Your strengths vs. your competitors’ weaknesses.
Compelling positionings, written with care and flair.
Assets that trigger the desired associations.
Creating moments of closeness.
I’m talking to myself here.