New Nike ‘Equality’ Initiative To Promote, Support And Take Action On Fairness & Respect

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Sportswear behemoth Nike is adding its voice to the current values-based brand ad campaign avalanche to promote a universal message of ‘Equality’.


The objective of this new ‘Equality’ initiative isn’t just to roll out an ad campaign, but to actually encourage people to take action and take part in programmes that take the fairness and respect they see on the court/pitch/field and translate them to all aspects of everyday life in their communities.


The initiative is anchored by a new 90-second spot, developed with agency of record Wieden + Kennedy Portland, that according to the accompanying NHike press release ‘encourages people to take the fairness and respect they see in sport and translate them off the field’.


The commercial, which was directed by music video helmer Melina Matsoukas, debuted ahead of the 12 February Grammys broadcast on CBS.


The commercial is fronted by a set of star Nike athlete endorsers: led by LeBron James and also including Serena Williams, Kevin Durant, Megan Rapinoe, Dalilah Muhammad, Gabby Douglas, and Victor Cruz.


Plus, Michael Jordan appears briefly and provides the ad’s voiceover.


The soundtrack is a new version of the Sam Cooke classic ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ by Alicia Keys – who also appears in the ad – and it includes the lyrics:


‘Is this the land history promised?
This field of play.
Where the dream of fairness and mutual respect lives on.
Where you are defined by actions, not your looks and beliefs.
For too long these ideals have taken refuge inside these lines.
Equality should have no boundaries.
The bond between players should exist between people.
Opportunity should be indiscriminate.
Worth should outshine color.
The ball should bounce the same for everyone.
If we can be equals here, we can be equals everywhere.’



Online, the TV spot is supported by a 3-minute 30-second, behind-the-scenes online video which explores the making of the commercial and talks to Nike endorser athletes about what ‘Equality’ means to them.



The initiative is also being amplified socially – with the hashtags #EQUALITY and #nike – on Twitter,






and Instagram.



Nike is also enabling consumers to create their own ‘Equality Avatar’ and/or or social media filters to express their support.


There are press ads and also an OOH phase of the initiative with billboards and posters in cities across the US and Canada featuring imagery of various athletes and cultural icons.


The executions drive consumers to the campaign’s digital hub at where the initiative’s participatory strands live and where users are encouraged to support two of Nike’s newly announced partner organisations: ‘Mentor’ (a national US mentoring partnership) and ‘Peace Players International’ (which uses sport to help young people unify divided communities).


The digital hub also pushes a new Nike ‘Equality T-Shirt’ to promote diversity and inclusion and expresses Nike’s commitment to advancing those ideals (also available for purchase at multiple retail outlets), as well as its ‘Black History Month Collection’ (which celebrates black heritage in sport and features trainers from its Nike Basketball,
Nike Sportswear, Nike Running and Nike Court divisions).


This 2017 Black History Month collection will be worn by several Nike-backed players at the NBA All-Star weekend in New Orleans, 17 – 19 February.


To further back up the marketing and retail side of the initiative, Nike is donating $5m in 2017 to numerous organizations that advance equality in communities across the US.


Activative Comment:


Nike, which has a solid track record of championing causes that reflect its values, is using the power of sport to take a stand for equality in new campaign


The brand missed out on the current value-led, brand scramble for pushing political messages in their Super Bowl spots last week (see case study), so it is using the next big event platform (The Grammys) to launch this values based initiative.


With more than 2m YouTube views and 3m Facebook views in its first 24 hours the spot’s engagement levels are off to an impressive start.


We also like the meaty back-up to the marketing in the form of encouraging and supporting NGO partner organisations and direct financial support for the case too.






Wieden + Kennedy




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