I found myself in the midst of an email blizzard yesterday with the launch of Nike’s new ad campaign, “Big Butts, Thunder Thighs, and Tomboy Knees.” I had barely turned on my laptop when the email avalanche began. Had I seen the new ads? Had I read the article in Ad Age? What did I think? Surprisingly, many of the emails (and then phone calls) came from men, including best-selling authors Jeff Eisenberg and David Wolfe.
(You can go the article in Ad Age for enlarged version sof the Nike Ads here)
Apparently, Nike is making an attempt to hitch its team to the Real Woman bandwagon that Dove rolled out a few months ago. The exchanges on this between colleagues and critics has been fascinating, like those on Holly’s blog (I love the IM transcript between Holly and Jeff).
Every once in awhile, I like to play 'conference room' - similar to playing 'house' but for big girls. Let’s pretend I’m a corner office muckety-muck at Nike and I’ve just been presented with this new ad campaign. After listening to Wieden & Kennedy’s presentation, viewing the ads and digesting the message, I think I’d ask the following questions:
Why are you recommending this campaign?
Are you trying to cash in on the “Real Woman” campaign and steal some of Dove’s thunder? If so, why? Did you give any thought at all that the term “copycat” might automatically register in the brains of the majority of folks that see it? Oh, I see... you weren’t even aware of the Real Woman campaign... could someone please have my secretary place a call to Ripley’s Believe It or Not...?
Whose idea was this?
If it came from our in-house marketing team, we need some serious assistance in the areas of originality and relevance to our brand. If it came from you guys at Wieden & Kennedy, you need some serious help in the areas of originality and relevance to our brand...
Do you really think that’s a big butt?
Um... excuse me. That rear end has a slope and a curve that’s sleeker than the first banked turn at the Indy 500. Many women would kill for a tush like that. And while we’re on the subject, what is it with these well-oiled, muscle crunching body parts? If the message is supposed to be about authenticity, hard work, and in-your-face reality, how about showing a little more sweat and a little less creatine?
Who are you trying to reach with this ad?
I’m just curious... only asking to make sure we’re all on the same page. In your agency mind, who does this ad appeal to? Our current customer base, the gals who’ve already branded themselves as Nike chicks? If so, then OK... I can see where the slickness and the kiss-my-butt attitude is coming from. If you’re trying to reach new customers, however... and we all like new customers, don’t we children? (ka-ching!)... we need to talk. I'm not sure these ads speak to reality.
And finally, what are you going to be following this up with?
You know... your next trick, your second act. Do you have enough ammunition in your portfolio to keep this doggie rollin’, or are you shooting the whole wad at once? Remember, even if you’re talking to current customers, slickability only slides so far...
It will be interesting to see how the general public responds to the ads and how soon it will be before the campaign does a slow fade to black.