Nike targets our flabby social media habits in new ad campaign

2016 is over bar the shouting at New Year’s Eve parties, and 2017 is moving into position. Cue resolutions, poorly followed fitness regimens and diets abandoned by the end of January.

Today’s world gets ever faster and we get distracted more easily by shiny trinkets we can buy from the comfort of our own living rooms, and the pull of scrolling through endless social media feeds. Once you’ve done Twitter and Instagram, move onto Facebook, before wondering if there’s anything new on Twitter again, after all, it is half an hour since you last checked!

And that’s one of the reasons so many people resolve to get fit around Christmas and fade before the next month is out.

At least, that’s what sportswear giant Nike seem to think.

In their latest ad campaign, Nike take aim at social media and remind people that their ‘time is precious’ before asking, ‘are we running today?’

It’s a simple ad (a super simple one, actually, with a computerised voice narrating exactly what comes up on screen: just white text on a black background) with a complex point. Namely, that our consumption on social is just as flabby as our Turkey-laden bodies.

It’s one thing to understand the power of social media: to be able to connect with anyone all over the world and experience what they experience, to have news and information at the touch of a button, and to interact with all sorts of opinion and also light-hearted entertainment. But we don’t really use it for that.

A disciplined athlete would exercise daily before eating only the right foods, getting the right amount of sleep and only occasionally indulge in the sorts of things most of us gorged on over Christmas. But not everyone is a disciplined athlete, and we love the bad stuff too much.

Similarly, on social, our consumption isn’t limited to green veg and lean protein. Reading viral stories about which celebrity stepped in a puddle, watching videos of cats, or ‘deciding if a picture is a labradoodle or fried chicken’ – all these things are the online equivalent of binging on chocolate before breakfast or cheese and crackers before bed. They’re meaningless to our lives, they don’t help in any way, but they do provide a moment of blissful indulgence that we probably could have done without.

The irony of social media, especially when it comes to all of the online engagement with sport, is that scrolling through your news feed is about as far removed from actually playing the sport as you can get.

Looking at the campaign, Nike understand this. Not only have they identified a problem and presented it in a cutting and humorous way, but they’ve also sent it out on, yes, social media. And given the video is short, simple, funny, attention grabbing, and able to be watched without sound (apart from an urgent and ominously ticking clock right at the end), they’ve clearly put a lot of thought into how well it will work on social.

Nike have somehow managed to create the sort of video that epitomises our flabby social media use whilst also decrying it – and encouraging us to run.

If everyone took the advice on offer, no one would be watching the video. But Nike would be billions of pounds richer.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 232 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and a regular contributor to Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan91

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