The Nothing Beats a Londoner advert from Nike has been a great success. Every news outlet shared it online, it received thousands of tweets and sparked conversations on Facebook, in the office and on multiple Whatsapp groups. The immediate general consensus was “wow, this is brilliant.”

Well. I hate it.

In my opinion, not only is it poorly acted, it portrays London in a negative light and is incredibly racially insensitive. Originally, I wanted to write a piece, in detail, about how terrible I thought the advert was, discussing everything from how lightly it takes the topic of bullying, how the idea that an individual running in £100 trainers to a £3 million football training complex in central London makes them ‘tough’ is hilarious, but I won’t. The majority of viewers, looking online and in personal conversations, disagree. They absolutely love it.

Sure, there is commentary about whether from a marketing and communications perspective the ad is too London-centric and that by focusing on one city, Nike may actually damage the brand. There is strong push-back also from a large part of the South Asian community about a lack of representation – against which there is no counterargument that sticks. Despite this, it has been extremely successful. Stats taken from City A.M reveal that Nike’s ad awareness score (whether you have seen an advert for the brand) has risen from 12 to 20 among the general public since the day of its release (9 February) to its peak (17 February). The campaign is achieving cut through with a key target audience as well, with its score among those aged 18-29 rising from 21 to 32.

So what is the point of this blog? That it’s okay to have a difference of opinion. And sometimes what you think will essentially be wrong. A strong comms professional should be able to think about the world and how a subject can be perceived by different corners of society. A strong comms professional should also be confident enough to voice their true opinions on things. All of this ultimately means one thing, a strong comms professional is only as strong as his team. Differences of opinion are a necessity in interrogating a new business brief, a creative concept for a client, even the way a piece of research can be portrayed. Diversity in an agency is therefore imperative. As many different backgrounds, age groups, genders and faith groups will mean you should be able to take stock of things from every perspective.

So although I think Nike’s advert is poison, I’m happy enough to admit maybe I’m wrong.

First published on Influence. 

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