{ADbitious} Nike AD ‘Write the Future’ – Is it Rubbish?

It’s just before South Africa 2010 when the world turns their attention to the Dark Continent for the ultimate show down in football (soccer), the World Cup, and Nike released a new advert loaded with sportebrity action.

According to Nike,

The time has come for players to carve their name in history. One touch, tackle or free kick could crush a nation’s hopes or cause them to build a statue in your honour. Drogba, Rooney and Ronaldo are ready to Write The Future.

Oh my goodness! It sounds so juicy, powerful and Hercules-like.

Upon first impressions the advert is catchy, alluring, endearing and in-your-face-powerful “HERE I AM, HEAR ME ROAR!”

So of course, I love it.

I love how the commercial captures the speed of the sport; the high blood-pressure, heart-pounding “Go…go…go…go…go……GOAL!!!!!!!!!!” that a person feels watching football. I think it was brilliantly shot and the background music helped to enthrall me  by 0:27.

I did not think it was utter rubbish.

However, by 0:47 when an Italian crooner was singing an ode to a cocky looking Cannavaro, I suddenly felt the urge to cringe as the scenario panned from Italy to England and Rooney, so on and so forth…

So what is the advertisement about?

The Beautiful Game? No.

Football fans or hooligans and their undying love for the sport? Not that either.

What about the reason football is called the Beautiful Game and a montage depicting how it brings people together? Wrong again.

Giles Rhys Jones, who is the Global Digital Strategy Director at London’s Ogilvy & Mather, over at the Interactive Marketing Trends blog, does not like this advertisement and wonders if it is a piece of rubbish.

Accordingly, to Rhys Jones,

…it talks about the consequences of activities on the pitch almost over what is happening on the pitch. I don’t care if Wayne ends up in a caravan or some random russian ends watching Cirque du Soliel in a tittty bar, I care about the game.

Whilst it taps into the current trend of all powerful football; red top papers, wags and gossip columns it adds weight to the notion that football is a sell out.

I don’t really like it.

Decidedly, upon closer inspection, I am almost inclined to agree with him.

I understand the “Write the Future” concept: what you do today, will shape tomorrow.

Except, like Rhys Jones points out, it is more about  “the consequences of activities on the pitch:”

  • Ronaldinho’s samba transcending his feet into exercise videos, half-nude samba dancing supporters and Kobe Bryant.
  • Ronaldo’s goal riding on whether he  procures a silver, Michael Jackson ‘History’-esque statue, a movie on his life or a role on The Simpsons.
  • Cannavarro’s scissor-kick deflection resulting in an song written about him with half naked women falling from the sky in the back end.
  • Rooney’s goal equating babies named after him, a elevation to the knighthood and winning at ping pong.

While, Rhys Jones, uses the term ‘almost,’ I would go as far as to say, that there is no ‘almost’ because pride in sports, the ability to move out of poverty and obscurity are more about the game than the benefits of taking part in it that come rolling in after the fact.

I always wondered why football was a global obsession.

I mean, I love it. But why do other people?

I don’t play. I watch.

Others watch and play.

Some just play.

My dad told me when I was a little girl, the reason was because anyone could play with anything.

The kid in the slums of Brazil can play with a beat-up ball or heck a rotten orange if they wanted too, the kid in the desert of Africa can play with a dried-out round enclosed shell of some kind and kids all over the world can play on their walk to school with an empty can or tin.

To play is easy, affordable and universal.

The Beautiful Game transcends socio-economic backgrounds, ethnic groups and gender.

Just kick; just do it.

Makes sense doesn’t it?

Write the Future is not rubbish, it is just highly misled.


***

UPDATE May 27, 2010:

According to AdAge, Nike broke its own viral record because Wieden & Kennedy’s (the agency behind the advertisement) “Write the Future” spot has had the biggest audience in the first week of a campaign with approximately 7.8 million views.

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Sasha Muradali runs the ‘Little Pink Book’ . She holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida with a minor in Dance (’07) and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami (’08). She loves Twitter and all things social media, so you should find her @SashaHalima or get a copy of the ‘Little Pink Book’ delivered to your Kindle and don’t forget to check out the Mad Women.

Copyright © 2009-2010 Sasha H. Muradali. All Rights Reserved.

Comments

  1. Well you are talking about equality, about how great the game is, and you only mentioned the players that disturbed you… Forgetting the first one appearing in the commercial Drogba .
    At least, you could have talke how well he represents,in this commercial, the true nature of football, the roar of the nations, the union for the game.
    Instead, you only focused on those that win at the pitch of the game…well, unfortunately humanity goes like that, we pay attetion to the consequences of the efforts of others, resulting in what this society gives more value MONEY and FAME.
    I agree with you, but we have to be more realistic here, and if you want to criticize well, mention everything so you can compare, and so that the most flashy ones still get our attention 😉

  2. Well you are talking about equality, about how great the game is, and you only mentioned the players that disturbed you… Forgetting the first one appearing in the commercial Drogba .
    At least, you could have talke how well he represents,in this commercial, the true nature of football, the roar of the nations, the union for the game.
    Instead, you only focused on those that win at the pitch of the game…well, unfortunately humanity goes like that, we pay attetion to the consequences of the efforts of others, resulting in what this society gives more value MONEY and FAME.
    I agree with you, but we have to be more realistic here, and if you want to criticize well, mention everything so you can compare, and so that the most flashy ones still get our attention 😉