At a functional level Nike is known for its street-stylish, quality sportswear products, and the high production value of their marketing campaigns, the latter of which has helped establish Nike’s values amongst Tribes as high performance and inclusivity.
Whilst some members are unaware and/or trusting of Nike’s values, the majority support the brand citing it as authentic and credible in their messaging.
A minority questioned the company’s ethical practices, and whether they had moved away from their reported ‘sweatshop’ practices that were at odds with their message of respect.
Nike’s history of creating partnerships with well-respected, top athletes has contributed to their image of high performance. Tribes view this (alongside their high quality sportswear) as a signal of the brand’s excellence and Nike’s desire to push boundaries in sport and athleticism.
Nike promotes a message of inclusivity and diversity in their messages, representing and respecting groups that aren’t widely represented in mainstream advertising.
Both values leave Tribes feeling empowered as Nike encourages individuals from all walks of life to be the best version of themselves, regardless of their circumstance and/or ability
“Generally they tend to focus on good PR more than anything, but their choice in advertising and supporting Paralympic athletes, politically vocal athletes and a wider range of up-and-coming athletes recently makes me think someone high up believes in positive social change and fairness in sports.” – Female, 17
“I think that Nike is a motivational brand, which is signified by their slogan ‘just do it’. I think they promote sporting excellence, as I often see collaborations with top athletes.” – Female, 20
“Nike stands for diversity as their clothes and shoes suit a wide range of people e.g. they even cater for muslim women with a sports hijab. I think Nike also centres around performance and style so if you look good, you feel good and perform well.” – Female, 19
Instantly recognisable for their designs, logo, tagline and bold advertising campaigns, Nike is seen as innovative, progressive and diverse in every area of business
“Nike isn’t afraid of ‘controversy’ like most brands who value their public image. Nike tends to bring up issues/people that are being misrepresented which can either work as a brilliant marketing tool or prevent business. It’s a complete gamble, but Nike put change before cash.” – Female, 16
They aren’t afraid to try new things and stand out compared to other brands. They are also keeping up with latest trends and are more aware of what is happening outside of the company. – Female, 20
It is more accessible – some brands seem tailored to a specific sport, age or gender. Nike has always seemed, to me, to be a more accessible brand. – Female, 23
90% of Tribes like Nike’s most recent advert.
Of the 10% who didn’t like the ad or were unsure, their reasons ranged from feeling like it was ‘too American’ to be relevant to them or that it didn’t feature enough females, to feeling that the ad was not very special.
“POWERFUL! Even without knowing the background, this is really inspiring and motivational and encourages everyone to just do something amazing and not let societies beliefs or your own weaknesses stop you from going far.” – Female, 23, Alternative, Pop:Socials
Tribes felt the ad went above and beyond what they expect from adverts when portraying diversity.
What else did tribes love about the ad?
The diverse and inclusive talent used in the ad made it feel relevant and authentic, and Tribes could identify with the everyday struggles and triumphs portrayed.
It reflects real life situations that Tribe members have experienced; going beyond sport and tapping into the fundamental qualities and values that make us human.
Part of the appeal for Tribes was that it wasn’t promoting a specific product, and the brand presence itself felt subtle and secondary to the message of empowerment.
Overall, the ad was inspiring at a deeper emotive level, and Tribes felt encouragement to beat the odds and realise their dreams against all circumstances.
“It’s inspirational to people from all walks of life and facing different issues” – Female, 16
“The ad talks about refugees and people who come from disadvantaged areas and shows them that there are people, like them, who have worked hard to made their dreams a reality. The advert includes so many people from different backgrounds, cultures, countries and religions. This is good because other sports/fashion brands do not always include them – or if they do, they just put one black person in their ad campaign and think that they have done enough.” – Female, 21
“It actually gave me goose bumps. Just the power behind it and the message that it sends out to different social groups who face barriers due to their race, age, gender, religion etc. to not simply ‘accept’ positions in society. It encourages them to keep going and always pursue more which I think is incredibly important in this day and age. I think being a girl who quit playing football because of the stigmatisation just makes the message resonate with me and I’m sure that it does that with many others too.” – Female, 20
“It’s brilliant. I did hear about how controversial it was to include a man- the football player- who disrespected the American anthem by using it as a way to protest… But I respect him more for that. It was a brave thing to do, to make that massive sacrifice. But I also respect Nike for making him a part of it. And standing by that decision, even when it sparked such fury.” – Female, 19
Nike’s value of bold inclusivity is seen as a good match with Kaepernick’s activism
Some members think the situation can only be properly understood by Americans whilst some weren’t aware of Kaepernick until our task
For those who understand the Kaepernick’s struggle, Nike is considered brave and bold for the move. All agree that Nike took the right stance, and that it reflects well on them as a relevant brand who understand important issues
Tribes acknowledged the ad is topical and explores real issues which not society may not agree upon, and risks putting Nike in hot water with some groups. Tribes respected the ad and Nike in turn for taking a stand. In saying that, not many of the reactions mentioned the Colin Kaepernick story, but it still appealed to those viewers that didn’t know his back story in detail.
“While it can seem contrived, these brands have such a major platform that it’s good to see them use it to incite positive change. I have some difficulty with brands who do it purely cosmetically (e.g. brands who participate in Pride parades for publicity purposes, without making any contribution to LGBTQ+ causes), but if they’re doing it at least partly for the right reasons, I support it.” – Female, 20, Leading Edge, Short:Snaps
Tribes feel as though the times in which they live is highly political; brands are expected to engage and create effective conversations to help society.
Authenticity is important to Tribes and they are cautious about campaigns that they feel are just for monetary gain or as a token gesture.
“I feel very strongly about LGBT+ rights, and have been involved.” – Male, 20
“I haven’t but I would’ve liked to take part in the protest to support the legalisation of abortion in Ireland.” – Female, 17
“I went to the protest against the sanitary product tax as a luxury item as this is something I spend a lot of money on and something that is definitely not a luxury as women don’t choose to use them.” – Female, 16
For those who haven’t got involved, some attributed this to lack of time or motivation get involved in any particular cause.
On the other hand, amongst those who have supported a political or social cause, involvement take several formats; speaking out on social media, signing petitions, talking to people in their day to day life, and attending rallies and marches.