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Yvonne DiVita

Ummm...the ads themselves are not bad. I do object to the terms 'big butt' and 'thunder thighs.' It's all well and good for women to use those terms, endearingly, with each other. It's another thing to have Nike accuse us of having them.

I wonder how appealing this is to the younger folks -- who is, I bet, the majority of Nike customers -- do they see these slick, sleek bodies and drool? Or, do they relate because they spend hours at the gym also?

Hmmm...I think I'll ask. Watch for the answers over at Lip-sticking.

Love your take on this, Michele. You're right on the money.

Andrea Learned

Just a tweak of, and a nod to, the Dove campaign, and it weakens the whole concept of 'real' doesn't it? (as in "I know, I know.. let's use real looking models for our next campaign! Just look at the press Dove has gotten.") As Stuart Elliott's column today (8/17) mentions, does this mean we are seeing the start of a big trend toward using real people or is it just a fad? I'm becoming a bit of a cynic, and I fear this is the start of a few months of campaigns that have customized Dove's approach without much more depth or interaction with consumers. Then, all those who have "tried" it can say "that using real women stuff just doesn't work." And, I agree with Yvonne - thanks for your fun take on it, Michele. I suspect we'll have to endure a few more of these stories on the "big new thing" in marketing to women.


In regards to attracting new customers... I think the ads fail. I commend Nike for attempting to communicate to real women (but I do agree the copycat factor is huge here). The thing is, I'm not convinced that many women (young or old) will identify with these three portrayals of "real women." Very few women in their 20's have butts that look like that or shoulders that look like bronze sculptures -let alone women past their 20's. I just don't think that Nike's "real" is all that real. Credibility just took a blow.

Steve Mertz

If I were doing a "real People" ad for Nike I'd keep the real women-thunder thighs and all. But, if I wanted to get ahead of the curve I'd start focusing on the boomers who are out every morning just doing it. They don't have the perfect bodies, some are disabled and some are bent over-but they are real floks trying to stay ahead of father time.

Mary Brown Imago Creative

I agree with Steve. Why don't we see more images of real boomers, especially women boomers? They are such a powerful economic driver of commerce. Yes, they are tricky to market to...and I'm not sure anyone has come up with the right mix of aspiration and reality to effectively connect with these gals. But I give kudos to Nike for moving in the right direction.

Karen Barnes

Personally, I refer to my legs as "chicken legs" so having someone else refer to body parts in slang doesn't get my dander up. What does get my blood pumping is that this is a refreshing, albeit not revolutionary, step toward "reality advertising." Okay, maybe those shoulders aren't what yours and mine look like, so it's still aspirational, but that's what the Nike brand is about.

And I agree with Andrea, I think we're in for an onslaught of real women portrayals in advertising without the required dialogue between companies and consumers.

Two steps forward. One step back.


I agree with Karen that there is not a dialogue between companies and consumers. I am also almost convinced they have taken the time to study market's tendencies, what they haven't done -nor something I would be especially keen on-is reflecting the market like it is. Advertising is about creativity, about art, seems like the idea is taking as a base point market's tendencies and sublimating them so people can still have an stereotyp/model, in this case the model seems more accesible, easier to achieve, more by purchasing Nike's stuff. There is not dialogue, there is more a simple dictation.

We all know that the real beauty, if it is so, is not merely related to the body side, moreover, it is not even visible; it is a sort of experience, a certain set of feeling or thoughts. And here we are still playing with the explotation of women's bodies in the media, the most recurring one in advertising of all times. Nike hasn't innovate very much in this campaign, it is rather playing with a variation of an endless topic taking advantage of the debate started by Dove.

I don't mind how Nike or Dove advertise now; still and fortunately for the human beings the "real beauty" is much more than a body image.


I'm telling y'all... it's all about customer experience. Identify with your customers on every level and wrap them in an experience that satisfies their every desire. Nike knows this and his merely going after one segment of the population at a time. Joe Pine talks about this ad nauseum... in fact he's having a webinar tomorrow:

David Wolfe

I've observed to many audiences that for the first time in history the majority of adults are in the years when self-actualization needs begin to assert themselves with greater force as social-actualization needs begin slakening. As people move toward self-actualization (few ever fully arrive, said Maslow)their worldviews move away from idealization toward reality.

Anyone in marketing, starting with Nike and Wieden and Kennedy, who isn't familiar with the attributes of self-actualization (or Jung's self-realization) is not as prepared for today's markets as they might beneficially be. That is why the Nike reality advertising campaign will be quickly retired. It is false, it is copy cat, it is crude and it clearlyu indicates that Nike does not understand the mind of the market in these times.


Interesting conversation about the Nike ads, much of which has been rattling around in my head since I first encountered them. Yesterday, I wrote a bit on my own blog about the article re: this topic that was in the NY Times. I tipped my hat to Jamie Lee Curtis who has been so outspoken on real vs. unreal women in advertsing, etc. While I mentioned the Dove ads, I stayed away from Nike because I'm too conflicted about what's happening with their push. Great dialog going on here. When will the hair-color and wrinkle-cream folks get the message? All those 25-year-olds needing to cover their grey. Tsk.


I work out a ton but I don't look like these photos, but I have thunder thighs. I never thought I did, but It has taken me 6 months to find a pair of jeans that fit because they are all too small in the thigh. I am not a skinny model and it bothers me that on my workouts, when I ride for instance, I avoid hills that are too steep because they will make my thighs bigger and I am always trying to make them smaller. So maybe it is time someone celebrated big thighs. Now if only Nike made jeans!


I just saw new ads for Weight Watchers, and I think they get it right, the real woman thing. Either that or I am just a sucker for a good inspirational Cher song.


Nike celebrates atheletes, not models. This isn't about real women, it's about the reality of women who work out intensely not to get skinny, but to reach personal best goals. It's okay to have big muscles where models don't. If it doesn't resonate with you, then you are not the target.


I don't know, I think that they're good ads. So a few lines don't hit it off too well with the feminists. I was never a Nike customer, and I will be now. My friends and I have the ads hanging on the walls of our house because they make us giggle. I think they DO reach the "real woman ATHLETE." I felt they didn't represent me poorly at all.

Lauren age 21

I love the Nike Advertising. It makes young women feel empowered and proud of their body’s no matter their shape and size. It also helps athletic young women like myself, who work out everyday and are still not a size zero feel normal and good about my body shape and size. I think the design of the campaigns is also fun and colorful. I have seen these ads hung up on dorm room walls and displayed as though they were posters or pictures. That just shows you right there that these ads have hit an emotional appeal for younger women and that they are looked at as not just a way to advertise a shoe or a sports bra, they are a way to show us a lifestyle.


I personally love the nike ads. Nike is a brand that targets athletes. They aren't trying to target everyone just like Gap isn't targeting women with curves (hence the skinny jean thing). Nike is not only promoting their product but also promoting a healthy life style and a body figure that isn't normally seen in ads. And like Deb said, now if only nike made jeans.


I actually love this campaign. To be fast and strong enough to win races (I'm a runner) my legs, in particular thighs, have grown quite substantially. I had thin thighs before, but now they are defined and very opposite of traditional femininity. The thunder thigh ad in particular calls me in so loudly, because it is saying "yeah, you aren't like the non-athletes". This ad means nothing to people who are trying to get in shape, or lose weight. It really evokes that "love of sport" feeling in me.


I love this campaign. I'm a college athlete and there's times when you hate the fact that your muscles have developed so much, but when I see this campaign it makes me say "it's awesome I have muscles this strong, I worked hard for them". I'm an advertising major and I think nike hit their target audience perfect here, and many of my friends who are female athletes agree.

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