It had to be. No two ways about it.
Our Ad of the Week is Nike’s warrior cry for equal rights launched immediately after the women’s U.S. soccer team took home its record fourth World Cup trophy.
Created by (yep, you guessed it) Wieden+Kennedy, the piece carries a torch for all the incredibly impactful work these athletes have done on and off the field.
A voice shouts: "I believe ... that a whole generation of girls and boys will go out and play and say things like, 'I want to be like Megan Rapinoe when I grow up,' and that they'll be inspired to talk and win and stand up for themselves."
Black and white photos of the team and their fans concludes with the tagline: "This team wins. Everyone wins."
Have we reached saturation point for female empowerment campaigns? Hell no. Absolutely not. In many senses, this is just the beginning. But -- like any vessel of advertising -- there is clutter.
Purpose-driven marketing is all the rage right now, especially in America, where I believe it lands better with audiences compared to our European friends. A giant chunk of this marketing is devoted to women’s rights and equality. Amazing. Only problem is, brands are finding it harder to be heard. This is due in part to a number of companies guilty of jumping on the cultural bandwagon in a sad attempt to score points with consumers without realizing their work reeks of inauthenticity because such values aren’t built into their DNA.
You know the brands doing it well: Procter & Gamble’s Gillette for "We Believe: The Best Men Can Be" -- a dismantling of toxic masculinity; Unilever for its long-running Dove "Real Beauty" campaign; Reebok’s "Be More Human" drive headed up by badass celebs like Ariana Grande and Gal Gadot. All of which have rich histories of supporting equality (with P&G owning up to it when it didn’t).
Then, of course, there’s Nike. The brand has long been unapologetic about its cultural stance -- we don’t need to remind you of Colin Kaepernick’s "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."
Point is, Wieden+Kennedy has successfully sculpted Nike’s name around the strong belief of belief: Belief that is should stand for something; belief that it shouldn’t appeal to the masses; belief it should be brave with its messaging and stick two fingers up to the naysayers.
This ad won’t chime with everyone. Some won’t care. Others will hate it -- hell -- even take offensive. And that’s great. Because healthy polarization like this will help guide the world to a better place. And meaningful brands must be the sherpas.