Nike Just Does It Anyway

Nike, this week, pushes forth with what it is calling the largest campaign in the brand’s history. Based around the Olympics in Beijing, Nike will debut a new global spot called “Courage,” continue to promote the Nike Hyperdunk shoe and launch the “Human Race” event.

The new TV spot breaks first in Asia and Latin America. It will air in the U.S. on Aug. 8. The ad celebrates the 20th anniversary of the “Just Do It” campaign by showing a collage of inspirational sports imagery. Michael Jordan kissing his NBA championship trophy and Lance Armstrong defeating cancer are among the 30-plus different athletes from 17 different countries that appear. The Killers’ “All These Things I’ve Done” serves as the soundtrack.

Consumers can then go to to freeze the many moments in the spot, get narrative about why it was important and add their own comments. Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore., handles. 

“The TV ad celebrates, quite frankly, what we felt is one of the most inspirational brand statements of all time: Just Do It,” said Joaquin Hidalgo, Nike vp-of global brand marketing. “It’s at the core of an athlete’s persona, whether they are a professional or amateur. It’s a call to arms to do better to get to the next level.”

The hefty ad investment has some analysts concerned. Sales growth has slowed along with the economy. In the U.S., for the fourth quarter (ended May 31) revenue grew only 4% to $1.7 billion, compared with 16% to $5.1 billion worldwide.

Hidalgo said the investment is one that will cement the brand for the future. Nike’s Olympic efforts are “a way to connect to the world. It’s the most important in the history of the brand . . . We’re investing in demand creation to sure we’re driving brand strength for current and future revenue growth for the company.”

Nike spent $75 million on advertising in the U.S. through April (not including online), per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. In comparison, last year’s spending was $189 million; it was $217 million in 2006.

“The levels we are investing at, we feel are appropriate to connect with consumer and drive growth,” Hidalgo said.

Nike will use the Olympics as a platform to promote its Hyperdunk, which it is dubbing the lightest and strongest basketball shoe ever. On Aug. 31, it is spearheading “The Human Race.” The initiative is slated to be the largest single day running event in history with 1 million runners in 25 cities. High-profile entertainers such as Kanye West and the All-American Rejects will be on hand to celebrate with attendees.