Nike has selected ten of its campaigns to represent what it claims has been an “epic” year of sport that spanned the Winter Olympics in Russia to football’s biggest tournament in Brazil.
Nike gave its “Just Do it” slogan a winter makeover at the turn of 2014 when it fired the starting gun its marketing for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Set in the harsh Russian winter, the ad celebrated those athletes, including ice hockey player Alexander Ovechikin and snowboarder Denis Leontyev, who embrace the conditions and defy the cold. The advert, created by Wieden + Kennedy, set the tone for Nike’s year that would see much of its marketing focus on challenging fans to take risks.
Play in the now
Nike is no stranger to making fun golfing adverts and 2014 saw it carry on the tradition with a tongue-in-cheek campaign encouraging golfers to “Play in the Now”. The ad attempted to convey the innovation behind its new drivers, poking fun at those players who are afraid to try new technology and reject advancements. The creative’s confident tone served as a prelude to the strong year the company would enjoy in the sport thanks mainly to top ambassador Rory Mcllroy having his best season to date, which saw him become the first European to win three different majors.
Make every yard count
Nike crafted a crodwsourced campaign with fans in India to capture the journey of millions of cricketers who strive for improvement every day in the hope of representing their country. Over 200,000 images and 108 photographers were used to shape the creative's narrative on players as they play their way from the streets to the stadium.
Nike struck first in its World Cup battle against Adidas with the launch of its star-studded TV ad. Featuring the usual stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar alongside the unusual Hulk comic book character, the TV spot took inspiration from the customary football game in the park. It opens on a playing field where two teams agree to a match where the winning team stays on. As the match plays out the teenagers transform into their footballing heroes before being transported from the park to a stadium to finish the match.
Nike got animated for the start of the World Cup with the launch of a Pixar-style film. It featured stylised versions of global stars such as Crisitano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney in a five minute film that saw the players face off against a villainous scientist determined to take the risk out of the sport. The advert was one of the most shared in 2014, according to Unruly’s Viral Chart.
Nike devised a campaign to promote its latest shoe to be endorsed by reigning MVP’s Kevin Durant. The ad was backed by retailer Foot Locker and features contributions from comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory and retired basketball player George “Iceman’ Gervin.
Nike scored a hit with its advert for Derek Jeter, the first Jordan brand-endorsed baseball athlete. It marked the 40-year-old’s retirement earlier this year and featured an all star lineup of New York names including Jay-Z, Spike Leee and Billy Crystal who pay tribute to the Yankees payer.
Neymar was one of the stand out perfomers at this year’s World Cup despite his premature exit through injury. Nike pounced on the popularity around the Brazilian with an advert featuring performing a plethora of tricks in a house of mirrors while wearing the Hypervenom boot.
Nike: Just do It South Korea
Nike launched its first “Just do It film in South Korea this summer. It features talent such as former Manchester United player Ji-Sung Park and K-popstar Taeyang delivering the latest interpretation of the brand’s mantra.
Lebron James Together
Basketball legend Lebron James returned to his first club the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 and Nike pounced on the opportunity to deepen its ties to the star. The advert features several people close to James including kids from the Lebron James Family Foundation and mum Gloria Marie James, promoting the message: “Together. One city. One goal”.