19 7 / 2014
28 11 / 2013
15 11 / 2013
09 11 / 2013
21 8 / 2013
Nike is a rare company. Started from nothing by a desire to be better and then evolving into nothing short of a global empire. Nike is everywhere from courts, fields, tracks, rinks, pitches, rivers, pools, roads, slopes and all the places athletes can be found. And thanks to Weiden + Kennedy, we find them in our bedrooms, on our walls, clothes, computers, bus stops, billboards and busses and on our minds.
It was a phrase that gave inspiration to, not just athletes, but everyone who faced challenges in their lives. At the time, it was enough to provide people with the inspiration to achieve, to think bigger and raise their expectations of themselves. it was an invitation to all things. The phrase belonged to everyone. In their private moments of indecision, when faced with the fear of loss, or difficult challenges. The phrase resonated with humanity in a way that I’m sure not even Weiden would have expected. 25 years later, the challenges are still there, but the way we deal with them just aren’t that simple. To “Just Do It” no longer seems to be enough. Because the world is constantly deafened by a cacophony of political and social fracture, “Just Do It” seems to be too confusing and ambiguous a message for this generation of consumers. It may have been good for the baby boomers, but in a world of the internet, Just Do It will only beg the question, “just do what?”
And since then we’ve seen nothing so revolutionary from Nike, nor Weiden + Kennedy.
A week ago I couldn’t sleep. It happens. In my moments of insomnia often I come up with some of my most precious ideas. I checked my email and a friend had messaged me about a Job opening at Nike. I looked at it. It was for a “Global Digital Producer for Basketball.” Whatever that even means. I read the description. It was interesting and as is my common practice, I thought about what I would do if I was in such a role.
The Russian World Track and Field Championships incident irked me earlier in the day. And that made me think of Jason Collins, the first active and openly gay professional basketball player. His coming-out made waves earlier in the year, and in response to his announcement, Nike started #BE TRUE. It was a show of support for Jason as an athlete and the wider the LGBT community. It was a solid show of support. But it was ambiguous. It was ambiguous like “Just Do It” and that was good. But it was ambiguous in a world where everything has so many meanings and can get lost in the clutter of hashtags and “likes.” So when I thought about what I would do as a “Global Digital Producer for Basketball.” I thought of “Come out and Play.”
It started off about Jason Colins specifically. I intended to use a stylized silhouette of Colins image under the text, but not only did it look cluttered, but using Collins would dilute the message which is intended for all sports.
"Come Out and Play" is universal and specific at the same time. It is at once powerful for THIS day and a call-to-action not only for LGBT athletes but intended as the recognition of a moment in the evolution of our society and a realization that we need to value the participation of all human beings in this race to survive in such mediocre times. We are all in this together. If sport is a metaphor for life, we need everyone at practice.
I am not gay. I will never know what it is like to be gay. I am a 6’ 7” tall African-American man. I am an athlete. I do know what its like to be constantly wary of where you are. To carry the weight of other people’s expectations and fears. And that makes me a stronger person. This is not a slogan for LGBT athletes, its more a slogan for those of us to carry as a symbol that all are welcome.
#BE TRUE is a good start.
For all the Jackie Robinsons, Althea Gibsons, and now the Jason Colins’ out there. If there is any company that can help transform people’s opinions about LGBT althetes, it is Nike and the superstars that they choose to represent their brand. Maybe Nike isn’t ready to do it, but there is no better time to Just Do It.
So I did it for them.
14 8 / 2013
This is the best thing I’ve done for OPB this year. Aaradhna did most of the work and there are still four months left in the year, but still…
18 6 / 2013
Hello. I really like that bridge in your picture. Do you know anything more about the bridge? How long is it? How much can it hold? Wouldn’t it be great if cars could drive under water so that we didn’t need bridges? Actually, now that I think about it, it would be pretty sad since bridges are so beautiful.
See you on the other side of the river,