Exploring the New Nike Advert

I've just seen the new Nike advert and was blown away. It has such a powerful message.

The advert has been in the news and faced a backlash because of the narrator - Colin Kaepernick. The NFL star was the first athlete to kneel during pre-game anthems to protest against social and racial inequality in the US. I was, however, impressed with the advert as I believe it has a very powerful message. See what you think:

Here is the text from the ad:

If people say your dreams are crazy
If they laugh at what you think you can do
Stay that way
Because what non-believers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult
It's a compliment
Don't try to be the fastest runner in your school
Or the fastest in the world
Be the fastest ever
Don't picture yourself wearing OBJ's jersey
Picture OBJ wearing yours
Don't settle for homecoming queen or linebacker
Do both
Lose 120 pounds and become an Ironman after beating a brain tumor

Don't believe you have to be like anybody to be somebody
If you're born a refugee, don't let that stop you from playing soccer
For the national team
At age 16
Don't become the best basketball player on the planet
Be bigger than basketball
Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything
When they talk about the greatest team in the history of the sport, make sure it's your team
If you have only one hand, don't just watch football
Play it
At the highest level
And if you're a girl from Compton, don't just become a tennis player
Become the greatest athlete ever
Yeah, that's more like it
So don't ask if your dreams are crazy
Ask if they're crazy enough.

Some questions to consider:
  • What does the narrator mean by dreams? He is not talking about the dreams we have at night when we are asleep, it is more about our aspirations, ambitions and what you want to achieve in life.
  • What are your dreams?
  • Why would people think your dreams are crazy? Some people are dreamers others are realists, this clip from Modern Family is a nice way of exploring this - https://youtu.be/P1tcZDiOUSc. So realists are the people who may think that your dreams are unachievable. 
  • Why would people laugh at your dreams? There are also people who are jealous and envious of others and if they don't believe in themselves, they don't want others to have that success.
  • Why does the narrator think people laughing at your dreams is good? He is trying to turn a negative into a positive, use people who don't believe in you as motivation to prove them wrong.
  • Why would some people think that it is an insult? It isn't very nice to tell people they can't do things they dream of.  
  • Why would some people think it is a compliment? Often, the people who put you down are the ones who are jealous of your skills and talents. 
  • Why shouldn't you just settle to be the best runner in your school, instead be the best runner ever? You should always aim for the highest achievement possible, not just the next step. It is a message to always be pushing yourself further. To move forward, challenge yourself and never be satisfied with mediocracy. 
  • What sport does OBJ play? He is an American Football player - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odell_Beckham_Jr.
  • What is a homecoming queen?
  • What is a linebacker?
  • Why does he make this comparison? In the past, they are seen as opposites, but the message here is to break gender stereotypes, more on this here - https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09202jz 
  • What is an Ironman?
  • Why do you think this gentleman's story has been included even though he isn't a professional athlete? His story is very inspiring, to beat a brain tumor is one thing but to then lose that amount of weight and take part in one of the hardest races is incredibly inspirational. 
  • Why don't we need to be like anybody to be somebody? A lot of people like to compare themselves to others, even with things like social media, we compare and want to be like others and conform. This can sometimes have a negative effect as it can make us feel incompetent, worthless and in some cases depressed. The message here is to focus on yourself and value that, rather than comparing and worrying about being like others. 
  • What is a refugee? a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.
  • Why does he use the phrase, 'if you're born a refugee' - To emphasise that people don't become refugees out of choice, most have to do it to stay alive.
  • Why has this story been included in the advert? The chances of becoming a professional footballer is around 0.012% which is extremely low. However, for a refugee, it would have been even more of a challenge. Again, the story is very inspiring and shows dreams, no matter how 'crazy', can still come true. 
  • Why include his age? To play for your national team at such a young age is an incredible achievement. 
  • Who is the basketball player mentioned? Lebron James
  • What is inspiring about this story? Lebron James is considered one, if not the best, basketball players in the world. At the top of his game, he wanted to go further and use his status to help others and so opened a school to help others, especially children living in poverty. Read more about it here - https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/basketball/45018003
  • Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. Why is this such a powerful statement? allow for a personal response
  • Can you think of people who did this in history? Nelson Mandela for example and others listed here - https://www.biographyonline.net/people/famous/courageous.html
It is up to you whether you make the connection to Colin Kaepernick's story here. I think it would be an interesting discussion to have and for pupils to see both sides of this issue. 

  • Why does he finish talking about whether your dreams being crazy enough? It brings the advert full circle. Every story shared would have been described by someone as crazy, unachievable. It is an effective way to finish with a rhetorical question to make the viewer ponder. If all these people have achieved their crazy dreams, what is stopping you?
  • What is the message of this advert? 
  •  Do you like this advert? Why?
  • How effective is this advert? 
  • Why has Nike created this advert without mentioning a single product? 
  • Do you think this advert will work? Why? At the point of writing this blog post, Nike has already seen a 31% increase in revenue.
I hope you find these ideas useful, I think it would make for a very interesting assembly or PSHCE lesson. Please do let me know how it goes if you give these ideas a go!

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