Nike Olympics ambush ad touches down in Australia

Nike’s global Olympics ambush ad has touched down in Australia, and is now running locally with a home page takeover on YouTube.

To skirt strict rules for non-sponsors, the ad makes references to the Olympics venue, London, by focusing on other Londons around the world. It mocks the ‘grand celebrations’ and ‘bright lights’ of the event, which kicks off in the British capital early Saturday morning, Australian time.

The narrator of the ad titled ‘Find your greatness’, which is running in 25 countries, says: “There are no grand celebrations here, no speeches, no bright lights. But there are great athletes. Some how we have come to believe that greatness is reserved for the chosen few. For the superstars. The truth is, greatness is for all of us.”

Nike’s brand chief Greg Hoffman was careful to avoid references to the Olympics in an article in The Guardian yesterday, saying:”The idea is to simply inspire and energise everyday athletes everywhere and to celebrate their achievements, participate and enjoy the thrill of achieving in sport at their own level.”

Nike Pacific was unavailable for comment on whether the ad is to run on TV networks in Australia.


  1. Daniel-Jacob Santhou
    26 Jul 12
    2:40 pm

  2. This is a brilliant advertisement.


    The term greatness is consistent and repeated throughout the course of visual representations and narrative. With hints of olympic feats from people embarking in different sports from different backgrounds, this truly hits the spot.

    Notice how the most prominent depiction of an athlete (that we are used to) is the winner of the race (woman in nike top). However, the feature is on the less athletic lady who finished the race. This gives the indication that ‘Greatness’ isn’t always about winning as Nike and many other sporting labels try to achieve.

    Greatness is about finishing something you started. Greatness is about personal accomplishment.

    As I’ve said many times, we set the boundaries to our achievements.


    Daniel-Jacob Santhou

  3. Keith
    26 Jul 12
    2:40 pm

  4. I thought I was watching a bank ad.

  5. A Spruiker
    26 Jul 12
    3:12 pm

  6. @ Daniel the self proclaimed “Creative Strategist”

    It’s not bad. It is a little clutching at straws though isn’t it? Of course there are cities around the world named London. Great is associated with the best, the fittest, “an Olympic great”, blah blah

    I was not aware that you have said “many times” that “we set the boundaries to our achievements”

    Thanks for saying thanks though!

  7. Mitch
    26 Jul 12
    3:15 pm

  8. Good – but would’ve loved if Bane had voiced this.

  9. Daniel-Jacob Santhou
    26 Jul 12
    3:20 pm

  10. Keith:

    What about this ad made you think that?

    What bank ads have you watched (which ones in particular that you can recall that prompted your comment)?

    It’s interesting isn’t it? Do you believe this Nike Ad is different from the others?

  11. Keith
    26 Jul 12
    3:42 pm

  12. Daniel-Jacob,

    I found it a bit preachy and a little condescending in tone – which I how I feel about the “we’ll help you live your life/we’re your friend” type of banking ads. Be the best you can, we can’t all be winners, but (by association) we’ll support you. I do however, agree with your points about the structure and use of recurring themes but not sure that the average viewer looks that deeply. It is certainly an interesting departure from previous Nike campaigns. For me though it misses the mark.

  13. Peter Petrovski
    26 Jul 12
    3:50 pm

  14. Creative ad. Nike always have interesting campaigns, props to their agencies.

  15. Daniel-Jacob Santhou
    26 Jul 12
    4:30 pm

  16. @ A Spruiker:

    Self proclaimed indeed. There’s no known role as a Creative Strategist, so a bit of shameless self-labelling doesn’t hurt does it? :)

    Oooo, I shared this with some people on my facebook page /thecreativestrategist

    And I share ads and have other like minded individuals update the page with relevant content :)

  17. Daniel-Jacob Santhou
    26 Jul 12
    4:33 pm

  18. @ Keith:

    Keith, I’ve been an avid fan of Adidas for years. I’ve never been a fan of Nike. But I do admire their balls and creativity :)

    But you’re spot on in “not sure that the average viewer looks that deeply”.

    I reckon the simple message across is just “finding your greatness individually”.

    We all compare our feats with others, continuously judging and critiquing based on previous campaigns and lessons learnt. However, we set our own boundaries. Much like Yoga :) People tend to try to push themselves further and try to emulate someone else. But honestly, Yoga is about knowing your limitations and only we know ourselves best.


  19. Colbot
    26 Jul 12
    4:59 pm

  20. I think we should take it for what it is and not over-analyse it. It’s an ad that’s trying to take advantage of the Olympics and to stir up some free publicity.

    Keith I disagree, I think it’s spot on brand for Nike. The ad empowers everyday athletes (which is something that Nike’s always been about), and contradicts the idea of the Olympics that “greatness is reserved for the chosen few”.

    Quite obviously if we’re discussing it in this forum and it’s being featured in plenty of international media over the last 24 hours, for an ambush ad it’s doing its job. Slick ad nonetheless, I wouldn’t expect anything less from the team at Wieden+Kennedy.

  21. Colbot
    26 Jul 12
    5:25 pm

  22. @Daniel-Jacob

    FYI, “Creative Strategist” roles do exist in adland, in fact I think they’re called “Strategy Planners”. Just calling a spade a spade. Adland today is already filled with new fluffed up roles, do we really need another one?

    Great shameless plugs btw.

  23. Daniel-Jacob Santhou
    27 Jul 12
    11:37 am

  24. @Colbot :)

    Shame is subjective :) They call me iron-hide in some part of the states. Then again I’ve also been called a prick.

    The role of a planner and the capabilities of one can differ depending on the nature of the organisation and people within…

    Remember, what I speak about the coinage of a “Creative Strategist” is different from yours. To me, a Creative Strategist is a Strategist that can be Creative, and is not bound by numbers, information and boundaries set by the usual title and responsibilities of a planner.

    I’ve met some crazy planners in my time, but only a handful can be labelled as Creative Strategists :)

    PS: A spade has different definitions and meanings. More so, the uses of a spade is subjective and is only bound by the limitations set forth by our imagination.

  25. Jimi Bostock
    27 Jul 12
    12:41 pm

  26. I like it – think it is a very nice sentiment and well executed

    interesting to see that the just do it line is absent

  27. ivan ardon
    27 Jul 12
    1:02 pm

  28. I demand BETTER!

    I demand IMPACT!!

    I demand GREATER!

    This is sloppy adwork.

  29. Eric A Blair
    27 Jul 12
    1:19 pm

  30. Yet another ad selling emotionally charged fresh air and feelings. Have we all lost the plot?

    Forget the Olympics, are brands just too cool to sell their products these days that they need to ingratiate themselves to our inner athlete…blah blah blah.

    Generic and way off the original Nike product performance standard.

    …I’m sending the Emperor his new clothes right now.

  31. Abe Udy
    27 Jul 12
    1:39 pm

  32. That’s a cracking good ad. V nice.

  33. The Fence
    27 Jul 12
    1:42 pm

  34. Keith, when you pointed out that it was a bit banky, I could see it. But before i read your comment I wasn’t thinking ‘bank’. I was thinking that for me the fact that I kept surfing through the winter this year is my greatness. But i can see your point. It could be the music that gives it the banky feel.

  35. B
    27 Jul 12
    2:12 pm

  36. ..but the ‘chosen few’ get paid huge Nike endorsement fees ..whilst those that are yet to ‘find their greatness’ are working for a buck a day in Asian sweatshops building Nike product.