Poetry In Motion: Nike Salutes Women Athletes

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners here has created four TV spots for Nike’s “women’s sports initiative.” The ads broke over the weekend and will air during the Winter Olympic broadcasts from Nagano, Japan.
The campaign features poems written by professional writers as well as teenage poets whom Nike invited to participate in a national “poetry slam.” Goodby’s idea to use poetry prompted the competition.
“The Olympics are a pure, innocent and selfless kind of thing,” said Jeff Goodby, agency partner and creative director. “We wanted the campaign to celebrate this in an uncensored way. That’s why we handed the moment over to [the poets].”
More than 200 poems were submitted by students from 13 high schools in 10 cities. Those schools were invited to participate because of their connections to women athletes who endorse Nike, such as hockey player Cammi Granato and downhill skier Picabo Street. The contest also included 25 professional poets.
“The [decision making] was incredibly difficult,” said Nancy Monsarrat, category ad director for Nike, Beaverton, Ore. “Each poem celebrates women athletes and women’s sports in its own way.”
One 60-second spot features a poem titled “Wings,” written by Piper Loyd, a junior at The Community School in Sun Valley, Idaho. Loyd is shown reciting the poem as images of women and young girls intensely competing in a variety of sports flash across the screen. “Some people dream of flying. I say I have wings,” Loyd says.
Each spot ends with the word “Nike” written in white in small, cursive letters on a black background.