By FARHAT ZISHAN
Nike has done it once again. Massive uproar on social media talks all throughout the town and sparking major conversations across all media platform. The company’s latest campaign “Dream Crazier” highlights all the accomplishments of women athletes, namely, Chloe Kim, the snowboarder who became the first female to land a Frontside Double Cork 1080; Ibtihaj Muhammad, the Olympian fencer who became the first woman to wear a hijab in competition during the Olympics; and not to mention, the narrator herself – Serena Williams.
The ad debuted on the festive night of this year’s Academy Awards and depicts all the numerous stereotype remarks that women usually face; in context of all the athletes portrayed. “If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic,” she narrated. “If we want to play against men, we’re nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity, we’re delusional. When we stand for something we’re unhinged. When we’re too good, there’s something wrong with us. And if we get angry, we’re hysterical, irrational, or just plain crazy.” Created by Emma Barnett and Alex Romans at Wieden & Kennedy Portland, and directed by Kim Gehrig through Somesuch, the work serves as an epitome in terms of highlighting female athletes who have broken barriers, brought people together through sport and inspired the next generation time and time again.
With feminism and women empowerment being some of the most talked about terms of the recent days, the ad is in perfect alignment with the current target group’s emotions and rationale. The campaign’s predecessor – “Dream Crazy”, starring Colin Kaepernick had gone haywire; sparking massive. While the new campaign has successfully managed to steer far away from the social media backlashes. Instead, it got appreciated by the target consumers for being blunt and precise with the core message. Because the ad constantly reminds us how feats like a woman running a marathon, boxing, dunking, coaching an NBA team or “winning 23 grand slams, having a baby, and then coming back for more” were all considered crazy — until somebody did it.
According to Nike’s press release, Dream Crazier seems to be the pedestal standing on which the previous generations of athletes are about to take the step forward – “The year-long journey to inspire the next generation of athletes to Just Do It enters into its next phase with the Dream Crazier spot”. It also mentioned, “Nike continues to champion female athletes and change the game for women in sports as it has for more than 40 years—inspiring and enabling female athletes of all levels to achieve their potential in sport and fitness.”
The company has already adopted a very well thought out, strategic move by launching the campaign during the Academy Awards, one of the most-watched TV events of the year, was a strategic move by Nike, as it was likely able to reach a wider audience base on cable TV. This year’s Oscars broadcast saw ratings rebound, with an audience of 29.6 million, according to Deadline. Viewership was up 12% over in 2018; which certainly proves that Nike has already been able to give the new campaign certain leverage in terms of getting it closer to the right audience.
The immense success and positive reception of the ad certainly point out the fact that consumers continue to respond positively to brands that focus on women’s empowerment and breaking down gender stereotypes. According to a survey by Choozle, more than one-third of the consumers have stated that they like a particular brand when its marketing rallies against gender stereotypes. And one-fourth of the surveyed consumers have stated that they are more likely to purchase products of that particular brand for that very reason. Another research by Accenture has uncovered the fact that 63% of the consumers prefer to conduct purchases from brands that support a purpose that aligns with their own values. Besides, with the advent of social media, Gen Z and millennials have started to perceive brands as key agents expected to take a stand on social and political issues.
In true Nike fashion, the brand has stepped out of their comfort zone and has proved how making a political or social statement can in fact be leveraged and used as a winning strategy to increase mind share; and not to mention market share. Nike has reported “record engagement with the brand” after Colin Kaepernick led “Dream Crazy” campaign last year, despite drawing some controversy and calls to boycott the brand. According to an analysis conducted by Edison Trends, online sales for Nike has increased 31% over Labor Day weekend 2018. The campaign also helped Nike see a 2:1 ration of earned media to paid media, according to Kantar Media. Nike reportedly spent about $4 million on paid TV ad buys for the Kaepernick campaign, but generated $7.6 billion in earned media value as a result. While the “Dream Crazier” ad does not have such a roller coaster ride in terms of creating an uproar, industry veterans are expecting that this is set to help Nike good numbers in terms of sales and generating positive word of mouth across multiple channels.
With humble beginnings in 1964, it is indeed fascinating to sit back and realize how far Nike has come. The “Dream Crazier” ad can be perceived to be an embodiment of the actual brand itself – shunning from all the backlash, going against all odds, rising to the occasion and eventually shooting for the stars. This campaign surely provides Nike a good, nurturing ground to brainstorm and portray ideas which challenge the social norms and can unite their consumer groups to act as a catalyst in raising conversation and awareness about a common cause.
Women athletes have been around us for decades. They have aspired, represented their nations and achieved remarkable feats that few us can even dare to imagine. Nike has picked the perfect story-line to continue the “Dream Crazy” plot. Even the portrayed characters could not get any better. For when we support our women, we support our world.
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