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.



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 5
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    “One girl can be silenced, but a nation of girls telling their stories becomes free” slideshow

    A photo contest winner

    “One girl can be silenced, but a nation of girls telling their stories becomes free” slideshow

    A photo contest winner

    “One girl can be silenced, but a nation of girls telling their stories becomes free” slideshow

    Superhero Project

    “In life many people have two faces. You think you know someone, but they are not always what they seem. You can’t always trust people. My hero would be someone who is trustworthy, honest and always has their heart in the right place.” Ateya Grade 9 @ Mirman Hayati School (Herat, Afghanistan)

    “One girl can be silenced, but a nation of girls telling their stories becomes free” slideshow

    Superhero Project

    “I pray every night before I go to bed for a hero or an angel capable of helping defenseless children and bringing them happiness. I reach up into the sky hoping to touch a spirit who can make my wish come true.” Fatimah Grade 9 @ Majoba Hervey (Herat, Afghanistan)

  • 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>