After the death of George Floyd, a 46-year old African American citizen and father of two, killed by police officer in the state of Minneapolis Derek Chauvin, Americans took to the streets in disarray and fury against police brutality and racism. Following the video that went viral on social media of Chauvin suffocating Floyd with his knee on his neck, and the victim pleading and repeating “I can’t breathe,” sportswear giant Nike released another anti-racism campaign.
Addressing its followers, ambassadors, and clients, Nike’s campaign takes on a powerful worldplay and turns “Just Do It” to “For Once, Don’t Do It.”
The activist campaign is the brainchild of an independent creative agency, Widen + Kennedy Portland, who is known for thought provoking and relatively controversial campaigns. The short ad revolves around racial injustice and violence across the United States and calls for proactiveness from all communities.
In black and white, in plain text, the campaign is a series of statements that address racism in the country, such as, “don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America. Don’t turn your back on racism,” as it refers to the unlawful murder of George Floyd and the many murders at the hands of law enforcement, before him. The captions in Nike’s campaign continue with, “don’t make any more excuses. Don’t think this doesn’t affect you. Don’t sit back and be silent.”
Nike is a company that is known to comment on major social issues including racism and politics; for their 30th anniversary campaign, Nike featured former NFL player and social activist, Colin Kaepernick. The former San Francisco 49er was fired from the team for “taking a knee” during the national anthem as protest against police brutality towards African American citizens. The company’s campaign was subject to both praise and criticism, yet Nike maintained their position on it and used it to bridge gaps and create conversation.
The latest anti-racism campaign has already garnered over five-million views and almost 100,000 retweets. The retail giant also spoke about the new ad and stated, “By sharing this film we can serve as a catalyst to inspire action against a deep issue in our society and encourage people to help shape a better future.” What do you think?