Nike’s “Never Too Far Down” Commercial Does Storytelling Right
What writers can learn
When I decide to go out to do my weekly shopping or a daily exercise, I see people wearing black masks with an unmistakable swoosh sign.
While they “could strengthen the lungs and diaphragm” when worn during running, according to Timothy Lyman, a certified personal trainer, right now people wear them for protection.
At a time when all sports are on hold, people need hope and support. Comeback stories become more relevant than ever, so I wasn’t surprised to see Nike come up with one. Their latest ad proves to be smart marketing and masterful storytelling.
“We’ve all been underestimated and counted out. In those moments, we felt like it was over, but it’s when we’re given no chance that we somehow found that last bit of strength to keep fighting and then we did what no one thought we could, not even ourselves.” — Lebron James in Nike’s ad
It wasn’t a coincidence that Netflix and ESPN released Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ ten-hour-long documentary, The Last Dance, one month before it was planned to be aired. People crave any kind of sports entertainment, and companies take advantage of that in every possible way, although we can’t blame them. In fact, we owe them a big thank-you. Even if their campaign is planned and calculated, we must appreciate the effort.
The one-and-a-half-minute ad is narrated by Lebron James, whose Cleveland Cavaliers’ comeback — which is also used in the montages — against the Warriors in 2016 became legendary. It genuinely works. We see other world-famous athletes try in their lowest moments to find that extra strength, that switch to bring them back from a nearly impossible position.
“While the film will look into the lives and successes of James, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, Rafael Nadal, Cristiano Ronaldo, Megan Rapinoe and Naomi Osaka to name just a few, it hopes to inspire all athletes. “ — Shanna McCarriston, CBS Sports
The commercial is edited in a way that takes three seconds to grab your attention. I saw it coming up between videos on Youtube and, it immediately got my attention, although I’m one who loathes and skips commercials. I guess that’s not a unique quality in an age when we can’t even watch or read anything online without noticing smartly planted brand fragments that leak into our subconscious without us even realizing it.
Nevertheless, Nike deserves merit attempting to provide hope to society in these difficult times, battling against an unprecedented pandemic. Even though we know it’s calculated, planned, and plays for long-term success, we must put our criticism and judgment aside for a minute to see the positivity and support behind the brand’s marketing genius.
The same way Nike uses this method, writers can employ it too, by adding positivity and a never-give-up attitude to their marketing. Promising an uplifting, confident, and vulnerable view on life earns readers, after all.
And we’re never too far down to try that again.