Which Is The Best Nike Advert Of All Time? Hoxton’s Top Ten Nike CampaignsBy Rachel Tooley | February 3, 2020
Nike are a brand renowned for their unique advertising style and gripping campaigns featuring some of the world’s most celebrated sporting stars. The partnership between the brand and Wieden+Kennedy advertising has birthed some of the most legendary campaigns. We’ve lined up our top ten Nike adverts of all time, however the infinite arguments over which is officially the best campaign, are guaranteed to continue for a long time to come.
10. Tiger Woods ‘Ball Juggling’ – 1999
Initially filming a completely different commercial, director Doug Linman hit gold when he captured Woods juggling a ball on his golf club, during their lunch break. Creating 28 seconds of genius in just one shot, Linman decided to use the footage to create a new Nike Golf advert in its most simple yet remarkable form – it has gained global recognition within the sport ever since.
9. Michael Jordan ‘Failure’ – 1997
This campaign to promote the Air Jordan 12 was one of Michael Jordan’s more expressive ads, compared to his earlier Nike works. ‘Failure’ is a retrospective view on Jordan’s career, reminiscing on the highs and the lows that got him to where he is in basketball. In the advert, Jordan claims all the downfalls he took within the sport brought him to his success, sending an inspirational message out, to urge others to never give up when working towards their goals and objectives.
8. Maria Sharapova ‘Pretty’ – 2006
Maria Sharapova was at the top of her game in 2006. After she became world number one in 2005, Nike approached the tennis player to be an ambassador for the brand and feature in their latest advert. ‘Pretty’ plays on the idea of Sharapova being labelled outside of sport as a pretty face, instead of being appreciated for her blossoming career at the time. The advert was released in the run up to Sharapova’s 2006 US Open appearance and won multiple awards for its creative interpretation of the West Side Story song ‘I’m So Pretty’.
7. Matt Scott ‘No Excuses’ – 2007
American wheelchair basketball player features in this motivational campaign, emphasizing that there are no excuses when it comes to sport or fitness. The simple yet effective idea provokes a variety of thoughts meant to inspire others into motivating themselves. Matt Scott is the perfect example for the concept, born with spinal bifida, Scott never let his condition prevent him from being involved in a sport that he loved. The commercial hits home with an emotional message to say that without excuses you can do anything.
6. Kobe Bryant ‘Love Me Or Hate Me’ – 2006
Star basketball player Kobe Bryant made multiple appearances in a range of Nike adverts throughout his career. ‘Love Me Or Hate Me’ is an important addition to Bryant’s collection of appearances as it was the first to feature the LA Lakers player after he was accused of sexual assault – Nike kept their association with Bryant which transformed into a stronger relationship between brand and sportsman, a brand which now call him ‘part of the Nike family’. Bryant’s collaborative products have recently completely sold out following his tragic death earlier this week.
5. Serena Williams ‘Dream Crazier’ – 2019
In celebration of female athletes across every discipline of sports, Nike created the ‘Dream Crazier’ campaign featuring none other than Serena Williams. The advert showcases different athletes who are working to break the barriers in sport, narrated by Williams. Nike adverts have a running theme of stimulating messages to encourage participation and sportsmanship. Whilst focusing on the emotion that often grips nations behind a sport, Nike heavily emphasize that sport is a powerful subject that we can all be a part of in some way.
4. Nike Basketball ‘Bring Your Game’ – 2015
Embracing the competitive spirit, Nike’s ‘Bring Your Game’ campaign shows basketball fans how their favourite players get ready for a game on the hardwood. Featuring stars including Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Kobe Bryant, Elena Delle Donne, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Paul George, this campaign exposes the relationship between Nike Basketball’s ambassadors’ interests both on and off the court.
3. Anfernee Hardway ‘Lil Penny’ – 1997
A hilarious commercial featuring Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardway, Tyra Banks and his cheeky side kick ‘Lil Penny’. The ‘Lil Penny’ puppet featured in all of Hardway’s Nike commercials, who gained quite the reputation in the entertainment industry. Voiced by Chris Rock, the puppet even featured in Blackstreet’s 1996 music video for ‘No Diggity’ which featured Dr.Dre and Queen Pen.
2. Nike Football ‘Risk Everything’ – 2014
Nike Football launched their ‘Risk Everything’ campaign in 2014 featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Wayne Rooney, trying to portray the pressure that international footballers face during a game. The Risk Everything campaign emphasizes that if you do take risks within your career or sport, there’s no telling what you can do. Again, this motivational message comes across in a strong yet uplifting way, with some of the world’s most recognizable and inspiring players implementing it.
1. Nike ‘Nothing Beats A Londoner’ – 2018
We’ve ranked the ‘Nothing Beats A Londoner’ campaign as number one. Perfectly executed with Nike’s signature sense of humour, yet still being an inspiring campaign, whilst avoiding cliché idealisations within sports. Using real kids from the capital, alongside some of the most identifiable faces within contemporary British culture, makes the ad seem a little more real. This campaign features stars including Skepta, AJ Tracey, Kurupt FM, Jorja Smith alongside sports icons such as Mo Farah is a clever, innovative move from Nike as they merge every level of sports with modern British culture.