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Is Nike’s Latest Campaign Too London-Centric?

Is Nike’s Latest Campaign Too London-Centric?

Every so often an advert comes along that gets everyone, media professionals and the wider public alike, talking and debating. In the past few weeks that has been Nike’s Nothing Beats a Londoner campaign.

The advert features a whole host of Londoners: inner city teens running home from school, aspiring young athletes, well-known sports stars such as Dina Asher-Smith and Harry Kane, and musicians including Skepta and Kurupt FM. In a whirlwind three minutes, I think the ad uses humour, music and sport to brilliantly capture the trials and tribulations of life in our capital.

The general consensus seems to be that the content of the ad itself is great. The debate begins when we look at whether the campaign is too London-centric. While some have commended Nike for reflecting ordinary Londoners, others have raised questions about whether this approach alienates the 87% who live elsewhere in the UK.

The debate about Nike has raged on in the media and marketing world, not least here at TCS. Matt Martin from our Midlands office said “the youth of today are still pretty tribal. That’s the very essence of this advert – so it will definitely alienate the rest of the UK. What is interesting is that no recognisable London landmarks were used, so most images could have been relevant to any city in the UK. It’s only a change of tag line to ‘Nothing Beats the City’ which would allow the campaign to resonate not only in London, but across the rest of the country.”

Dave Baxter from our London office moved to the UK from Durban four years ago. He said “having only lived in London throughout my time here, I have a natural bias in thinking the ad is brilliant. By featuring people from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, the campaign is uniting. It shows that no matter who we are and where we are from – London life is tough. Once this premise is established, the ad flourishes. It goes on to showcase that if London is what makes us as hardcore as we are, Nike is the brand that reflects that.”

Jo Parkinson from our North office said “I do think the further away from London you are the less relevant it may feel. Interestingly, having done a small straw poll amongst my 11 and 13 year old children’s friends, most thought it was pretty cool and hadn’t thought about its London focus.”

London-centric or not, the ad has attracted a lot of attention. In less than a month, it has clocked over 8 million views on Youtube (with millions more on Facebook and Twitter). YouGov polling shows that Nike have had an uplift in their “buzz score” (ad awareness), both inside and outside of London, as a result of the campaign. The brand will no doubt be very pleased with this outcome.

Rayhan Uddin
Junior Planner/Buyer

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