2005: Nike follows in Dove's footsteps with debut of 'Real Women' campaign in 2005

To celebrate the Ad Club of New York's 120th anniversary, The Drum is inviting readers to share their favorite marketing moments from the past 120 years.

Nike Women

Today’s marketing moment was chosen by Erin Keeley, chief marketing officer at Mono. Below, find out why Nike’s ‘Real Women’ campaign is her favorite marketing moment.

When the Nike Women ads debuted in mid-2005, the brand was accused of drafting off of Dove’s success in portraying real women in its advertising. Ad Age said the ads “don’t work” because they weren’t inclusive. They weren’t positive.

But for me, this campaign showcased what Nike has done so well and what has continued to make the brand successful. It paid homage to athletes. Idolized them. And in this case, it felt like for the very first time, it idolized female athletes' bodies in a way that no brand had ever done before.

It celebrated curves, butts, thighs and knees for being powerful and purposeful, not the curves created by nature, nor the feminine and the petite. And it did it with attitude that made some people uncomfortable because it wasn’t relatable to the masses. But it spoke to women athletes in a way that showed that Nike understood them. And that is all that matters.

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