‘Nothing Beats A Londoner’: Did Nike’s Attempt To Showcase Diversity Fall Short?

Marketing guru’s Nike are back at it with American advertising agency, Widen+Kennedy – the company behind Nike’s slogan, “Just Do It”, after finding inspiration from Gary Gilmore’s murder trial whose last words were, “Let’s do it”, before his death by firing squad in 1976.

The creative agency’s other collaborations with Nike included YouTube’s first ever video to reach one million views – the infamous Ronaldinho Crossbar advert.

And now, Widen+Kennedy’s latest work with the giant sportswear company is the ‘Nothing Beats A Londoner’ advert; a campaign aimed to encourage the youth to involve themselves in sport and to showcase London as a capital playground. The launch of the programme will run until the 18th of February, with the aim of maximising sport participation during the half term break.

Nike – Nothing Beats A LDNR – Half term takeover.

The advert shows the melting pot of culture and creativity in London, a city which encompasses competitiveness and a fast-paced nature – the advert has it all. Structured around the idea that a typical Londoner has a built-in armour of self-belief, a characteristic which helps those thrive in an unforgiving capital.

The message in the advert attempts to focus on the variety and diversity of the city; the fragmented makeup of London creates a nightmare place to travel, but a situation where you could be a matter of miles from one part of the capital to another, yet seemingly in a completely different city – the variation is exactly what creates such a pull factor, evident by the population hitting an all-time high of 8.8million last summer.

“London is a sports obsessed city and its intersection with culture sparked by the next generation of youth, is shaping a new wave of creative expression and celebration of sports,”
— Jamie McCall, Senior Marketing Director at Nike

Although the launch of the advert hits a wide-ranging group of ethnic backgrounds, there has been criticism that the advert has missed the mark by not including anyone from Asian heritage.

There’s a clear effort in the video to represent all types of athletes and personnel that live in London; from the likes of grime artists in Peckham to sporting stars in north London, yet there is not one figure from an Asian-British background out of a 258 cast for the promotional video.

“So @NikeUK doesn’t feel the need to include Asians in their ‘diverse’ video on London?

‘Nike are happy for Pakistanis to stitch their footballs & for factories in Bangladesh to make their clothes. But we aren’t marketable enough to be in this commercial?

‘Disgraceful exclusion” — Twitter user, @AzTheBaz

The underrepresentation of the Asian community has seen many criticise Nike’s advert, particularly given Nike’s preference to employ workers for low levels of cost in Asia.

By August 2017, 75% of Nike footwear line workers were based in three Asian countries: Vietnam, Indonesia and China, and four of Nike’s top six employing countries are from Asia:

Data Source: Nike – Photo Credit: Financial Times

Nike is no stranger to criticism of the company’s representation; this time last year, the sportswear company came under fire for their ‘Equality’ campaign which was blasted as hypocritical for its efforts to promote diversity, yet handlig of low-paid factory workers in Asian countries.

Nike’s most recent advert has, therefore, rocked the boat once again with a proportion that make up a large part of the company’s workforce. Despite its attempts to showcase London’s diversity and represent the capital’s multicultural nature through a fast-paced and humorous advert, it has sparked a debate once more on topics around fair representation and cultural preference within the firm.



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