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A 27-year-old brand story

Using examples of Nike's award-winning creative work, discuss how brand stories don't just start and finish with a single campaign.
Football, football. We get nothing but football morning, noon, and night. Shut up.
Confidence is a preference for the habitual voyeur of what is known as… Parklife. And morning soup can be avoided if you take a route straight through what is known as… Parklife. John’s got brewer’s droop. He gets intimidated by the dirty pigeons. They love a bit of him. Parklife. Who’s that gut lord marching? You should cut down on your porklife, mate. Get some exercise.
Listen, if you can run a mile, run a race. You know what, run a marathon. Outrun a movie star.
If you can ride a bike, ride that thing. Ride a bull. Ride a… ride a tougher bull. Let’s watch this. What kinda bull is that? If you can move your hips, if you can dance, move your legs, move your feet, move the ball. Is that PK? Score the goal. Yeah, that is PK. You like to fight? Well, pick on someone your own size. Pick on someone twice your size. Pick on him. That’s not good. Oh, lesson learned. If you can play table tennis, serve like that. Beat the champ. Beat her mentor. Come on, you got this. Quiet please. Beat Serena. Thank you. If you can beat your friend one on one, beat him. Steal it. Take it. Sorry girls.
Now, take your talents to the streets. Beat the street court legend. That’s good. Beat that guy. Hold on. We’ve been waiting for this.
That was nice. Good luck with that.
A brand story doesn’t just start and finish with a single campaign. Andy talked about how brands with a purpose (or story) have a strong emotional message that can form the underlying basis of all the stories you weave about that brand, irrespective of genre, form, channel or platform.
The long-running Nike campaign ‘Just Do It’ is doing just this. Wieden+Kennedy developed the tagline for the sports brand in 1988 to tie together a series of different commercials, all of which had a different look and feel and narrative, but were communicating the same brand story.
The tagline has since been used internationally at the heart of Nike’s advertising for the last 27 years to tell their story. Using the emotive tagline as a device, Nike are able to release adverts with different tones, characters, pace and feel, but all are recognisable as theirs as they all have the same core story.
Two Minute Task
The above are all examples of D&AD Award Winning Nike ‘Just Do It’ commercials from 1998 to 2014. Watch the video and think about the following:
  • What do you think the above examples have in common with one another? (Other than the tagline!)
  • Do you think there is a common plot archetype that runs throughout?
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Storytelling in Advertising

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