Nike’s 99 percent ad

A supposedly rogue sneaker video captures the Internet's attention -- and co-opts the Occupy zeitgeist VIDEO

Topics: Advertising,

Nike's 99 percent ad

It’s still a sneaker ad. But it’s one with a story that anyone who’s ever dreamed of fleeing the workday world for a daring adventure can enjoy.

Casey Neistat says that Nike gave him a nice big budget to create a new ad with the imperative – I mean hashtag, because Nike is all up in that social media thing — to #makeitcount. Instead, according to the video, he took the money and sprinted around the world with a friend for 10 days. This result is basically a Successories poster crossed with your cousin’s Facebook wall come to life –  images of pretty locations like the Eiffel Tower and the Great Pyramids, interspersed with inspirational quotes from the likes of Helen Keller and Mae West and Hunter Thompson. No wonder the clip has amassed nearly a million views — and, no doubt, millions of “God, why can’t I be that guy?” sighs of envy — in under two days.

It takes the idea of “run” not to the expected sneaker ad place of basketball courts and marathons, but the other place, the “take the money and” one. Jump off a cliff. Get a tattoo. Meet girls in bikinis. You know, just do it. It’s a cliché used to peddle footwear, but it’s an infectious, spirited one. And it’s a whole lot more fun than a lecture from Dad.

You Might Also Like

Of course, this entire video is not just a testament to the human spirit but also to the growing craftiness of corporate viral advertising. It’s unlikely that Nike was unaware of Neistat’s plan when he went off to shoot it (even rebellious ad producers are subject to oversight by their clients), and the video allows the company to seem anti-authoritanian at a time when it’s very popular to hate our corporate overlords. It effectively and subtly co-opts our current Occupy zeitgeist; stick it to the Man: Buy Nike!

In essence, Neistat, a skilled social strategist who makes clever videos about getting ticketed for bicycling outside the lane and creating the classic Land O’ Lakes girl boobie peek-a-boo, has created an aspirational ad for the 99 percent.

 

Mary Elizabeth Williams
Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream." Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 8
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Sonic

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Sonic's Bacon Double Cheddar Croissant Dog

    Sonic calls this a "gourmet twist" on a classic. I am not so, so fancy, but I know that sprinkling bacon and cheddar cheese onto a tube of pork is not gourmet, even if you have made a bun out of something that is theoretically French.

    Krispy Kreme

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Krispy Kreme's Doughnut Dog

    This stupid thing is a hotdog in a glazed doughnut bun, topped with bacon and raspberry jelly. It is only available at Delaware's Frawley Stadium, thank god.

    KFC

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    KFC's Double Down Dog

    This creation is notable for its fried chicken bun and ability to hastily kill your dreams.

    Pizza Hut

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Pizza Hut's Hot Dog Bites Pizza

    Pizza Hut basically just glued pigs-in-blankets to the crust of its normal pizza. This actually sounds good, and I blame America for brainwashing me into feeling that.

    Carl's Jr.

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Carl's Jr. Most American Thick Burger

    This is a burger stuffed with potato chips and hot dogs. Choose a meat, America! How hard is it to just choose a meat?!

    Tokyo Dog

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Tokyo Dog's Juuni Ban

    A food truck in Seattle called Tokyo Dog created this thing, which is notable for its distinction as the Guinness Book of World Records' most expensive hot dog at $169. It is a smoked cheese bratwurst, covered in butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, Wagyu beef, foie gras, black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayo in a brioche bun. Just calm down, Tokyo Dog. Calm down.

    Interscope

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Limp Bizkit's "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water"

    This album art should be illegal.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>