It may be hard to believe, but there was a time that “Just do it” was not part of our vernacular. The slogan that has helped make cement Nike’s status as a global sports monolith was launched in 1988 and has since been a part of global pop culture.
To celebrate the 30 years of the slogan, Nike and their advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy have created a new campaign that has caused some controversy. Called “Dream Crazy,” the ad is narrated by Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who drew global attention when he would sit or kneel when the American national anthem was played before National Football League games.
The ad begins with a skateboarder trying to perform tricks while falling after several attempts. Isaiah Bird, a wrestler who does not have legs, is then presented. Other athletes, such as a young football player pulling off a one-handed catch made famous by New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., a high school homecoming queen also doubling as a linebacker on her football team, and a man who lost 120lbs to become a triathlete after beating a brain tumor are also shown.
Other Nike athletes such as wheelchair basketball player Megan Bunk, Kenyan marathon runner Elion Kipchoge, Canadian football/soccer star Alphonso Davies, three-time NBA champion LeBron James, one-handed Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin, and tennis superstar Serena Williams are each given the spotlight.
All of these stories and athletes are presented while Kaepernick talks of the adversities and roadblocks that each had to overcome. It closes with Kaepernick walking and staring into the camera saying, “So don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they’re crazy enough.” A city overview is then flashed with some of the athletes projected on buildings before the final words are flashed. “It’s not crazy until you do it. Just do it.”