Casey Neistat's Rogue Nike Ad: Inspirational or Opportunistic?

Director brings 'Make it count' to life

Casey Neistat has been going rogue for a while. We first wrote about him in 2004, when he and his brother Van, unhappy with the battery life on their iPods, went around New York City stenciling "iPod's unreplaceable battery lasts only 18 months" on iPod ads. (Apple began offering a battery-replacement program soon thereafter.) He also did that great little biking video—after getting a ticket for riding outside the bike lane, he filmed himself trying to stay within the lane, with disastrous results. For his latest project, Neistat, who is repped by HSI for commercials, says he was given a budget to shoot a Nike ad—but instead took the money and traveled around the world with his buddy Max. The resulting video, below—which is itself now hurtling around the virtual world—probably embodies the tagline, "Make it count," more than a typical fabricated ad would have. The video—showing Neistat on his jaunt, intercut with famous carpe diem quotes—is destined to have a predictable future as a piece of inspirational shorthand, though it does have its detractors. Says one popular YouTube comment: "you're not making anything count you're being a bunch of self-serving shallow hedonistic typical american whores." It's to argue with the fact that this does as much for the Neistat brand as it does for Nike. One thing's for sure: Not every client would be happy to hear that you spent their ad budget on a vacation for yourself.