Ads We Like: Nike dares China to become a football superpower

Nike China has imagined a future when China is a football superpower in its players are ranked among the world’s best in a new campaign.

The ‘Dare to Become’ campaign aims to leverage the huge public interest in football in China following the 2018 World Cup. The ad kicks off at the 2033 World Cup, and in scenes reminiscent of Nike’s iconic advertising featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, we see a football player score a blistering goal and learn he is a Chinese player.

The ad depicts a future where the world’s greatest football players are Chinese and quotas are placed on how many Chinese players are allowed in Premier League teams. The ad also pokes fun at England, which is depicted as a nation in tears after drawing China in its World Cup Group.

The ad, which stars teenage football players from the Nike Football League in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, aims to inspire young athletes and football fans by providing a vision of what Chinese football could become in the future.

The fun and ambitious campaign, which was created by Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai, has sparked a heated discussion in China about the nation's football abilities.

The campaign also serves a rallying cry to rival Adidas, which has invested heavily in promoting football in China, including establishing a partnership with the Chinese Government to run grassroots football programs to help develop the sport across the nation.

Matt Skibiak and Dong Hao, creative directors at Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai, said, “We saw this campaign as an opportunity to make a statement and start a conversation about football in China. Why can’t China be great? This film is clearly on the side of the athletes who believe it can be. Because if no one is willing to imagine going there in their heads, they’ll never get there in real life.”

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