Does Equality Have Boundaries?

Post By: Ashley Liso

Nike: Equality Has No Boundaries

Nike recently released a new video advertisement entitled “Equality Has No Boundaries,” featuring several notable athletes including Lebron James, Serena Williams, and Kevin Durant. The video clip displays scenes of basketball courts, tennis courts, and football fields as the narrator states: “Here, you’re defined by your actions. Opportunity should not discriminate. The ball should bounce the same for everyone. Worth should outshine color.” The advertisement closes with the line: “If we can be equals here, we can be equals everywhere.”

This advertisement by Wieden+Kennedy Portland made its debut the night of the Grammy’s, and is “focused on encouraging people to take the respect and fairness they see on the field and translate it off the field” according to a press release released by Nike.

As a frequent visitor of the website Creative Criminals, I encountered this advertisement and immediately thought back to “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” chapter in David Meerman Scott’s book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR.” Within the chapter, Scott notes that “you are what you publish,” and I think this holds true when referring to Nike and its equality campaign. The release of this advertisement portrays Nike as a brand that uses its voice and recognition to speak out on causes important to its athletes and employees. This commercial aired shortly after Nike announced its partnership with MENTOR and PeacePlayers International, and Nike is to donate $5 million in 2017 to numerous organizations that advance equality in communities across the US. In doing so, I believe Nike is attempting to generate a positive image of the brand, and the company is not afraid to showcase its opinion on the lack of equality in the country, despite the possible backlash the company might receive for promoting such a message.

Released shortly after several Super Bowl advertisements received backlash for being politically controversial, Nike’s “Equality Has No Boundaries” advertisement has attracted its fair share of positive attention from the public, as I myself have seen the video shares on multiple social media platforms. As we have learned, advertising reflects what is current in society and is constantly changing, and I believe Nike’s message to the public to be positive in its intention.

However, some viewers of the advertisement deemed Nike as being hypocritical, proposing that the politically correct ad promotes diversity despite claims that Nike mistreats its workers in poor countries. The debate was introduced to twitter, users tweeting to Nike directly their critiques of the campaign.

Due to the high volume of tweets sent to Nike, the firm issued a statement concerning their desire to create a fair and respectful world both on and off the field. The statement read, “Nike believes in respect and equality, and these are values that are worth standing up for and supporting.” While Nike’s statement showcases the company’s intentions, I believe that the firm would have better appeased those it angered if they had responded directly to the negative tweets received. Doing so would have made Nike seem more personable, however I do commend Nike for continuing to support the message of the commercial, demonstrating how much they truly do believe in what they preach.

The company also issued statements concerning the fundamental transformation of labor conditions in their factories, admitting that there is still much to be changed, but that progress is indeed being made. After having read Nike’s complete statement, I think that Nike was smart in its strategy to admit that the conditions in factories are less than perfect. In admitting the company’s flaws, Nike is likely to be deemed as more trustworthy to consumers.


Watch the full clip at:

Group 1 (Ashley Liso, Katherine Braver, Jared Boba, and Amber Urena)


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