Following the tragic murder of 46-year old George Floyd, an African American man killed at the hands of Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis Police Officer, Nike has released a new campaign denouncing racism in all forms. Calling on their customers to do something the brand has otherwise propagated against, Nike says “For Once, Don’t Do It.”
Created by Widen + Kennedy Portland, an independent creative agency known for its provocative campaigns, the ad is a poignant and pensive ode to the state of racial affairs in America today.
— Nike (@Nike) May 29, 2020
Juxtaposed against a simple black background, the campaign sprouts a series of statements beginning with “don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America. Don’t turn your back on racism.” Alluding not only to the innocent life that was taken earlier this week, but all the lives that preceded it, the ad continues to say “don’t make any more excuses. Don’t think this doesn’t affect you. Don’t sit back and be silent.”
Known for standing up against systemic and institutionalized racism, this is not Nike’s first foray into bridging the gap between political activism and retail. Using its enormous platform to contribute to and challenge the ever-expanding discourse surrounding race in America, the new campaign follows in the light of a similar tone to that of its 30th-anniversary campaign, which featured former NFL player and activist, Colin Kaepernick—who was fired from the San Francisco 49ers for “taking a knee” during the national anthem to protest police brutality. While the ad prompted as much praise as it did criticism, Nike stood firmly behind it, even ensuring it was released in tandem with the start of the 2018-2019 NFL season in a bid to gain more traction and spark more conversation. In a devastating, but unsurprising turn of events, the reasons behind their new ad are unfortunately no different to that of their old.
With more than 77-thousand retweets and five million views so far, Nike addressed the new campaign in a statement, saying “we hope that 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.”