ADdicted: Nike Play New
In this space, I usually share ads I love.
I'm going to make an exception with Nike's "Play New" ad; I don't love it... but I can absolutely respect what they're trying to say and do.
As a non-athlete myself, "Play New" is probably the most relatable Nike ad I've ever seen; I play baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis, and golf almost exactly like what's shown in the video, and while I've never attempted skateboarding, surfing, or boxing, it's safe to say I wouldn't fare much better than the non-athletes shown in the spot.
But for me, Nike has always represented "performance": its famous slogan is "Just Do It", not "Just Try Your Best".
So in that sense, "Play New" feels like an anti-Nike ad, something that a leisurewear company built on fashion and comfort might run, not something a company that sponsors many of the top athletes in the world would want to share.
People who suck at sports need something to wear too, and since that group is many times larger than the number of elite athletes out there, "people who suck" represent a sizeable market opportunity.
The positive message encouraging us to try something we've never done before is admirable, and if people who were intimidated to play something suddenly feel comfortable trying, they might actually find they enjoy it... and they might decide they need some athletic gear to continue.
It's a long-term play, but that's what brand-building is about.
I don't personally love the ad... but it's a great investment in the company's future growth.