Style The 10 best Nike commercials ever
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The 10 best Nike commercials ever

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Andrea Tuzio

With an statement, Nike (as well as many other companies such as Apple and Patagonia) has just announced that, starting today, March 16, it will close all its stores in the United States, Canada, Europe (in Italy all stores that do not sell basic necessities are closed by decree for a week) in Australia and New Zealand to counter and limit Coronavirus infection.


For more than 20 years, most of Nike’s ADVs have been designed by the Portland, Oregon, Wieden+Kennedy-based advertising agency. This partnership has produced the most beautiful and iconic advertising campaigns of all time, never directly promoting a product but an idea, a philosophy, and perhaps this is the success of the 10 best Nike commercials ever.

10. Nike Air Huarache – “Instant Karma” (1992)

Directed by David Fincher (Fight Club and The Social Network), this 1992 commercial presents the Huarache line and features the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Michael Johnson. John Lennon’s Instant Karma accompanies the images in a perfect and evocative way.

9. Agassi vs. Sampras (1995)

San Francisco is the backdrop for one of the most successful commercials ever. Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras compete in an impromptu match between the streets of the Californian city (on the corner of Pine Street and Sansome Street), setting up a net and blocking traffic. Two different styles, two antipodean personalities and two of the greatest players of all time to present the Air Challenge LWP (at Agassi’s feet) and the Air Max2 Spa (worn by Sampras).

8. Nike Football – “Write the Future” (2010)

Awarded at the Lions Cannes Marketing Awards in 2011 and filmed by 5 Oscar winner Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The protagonists are, Didier Drogba, Fabio Cannavaro, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Andrés Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Piqué, Ronaldinho, Franck Ribéry and sees the extraordinary participation of Roger Federer, Homer Simpson and the late Kobe Bryant.

7. Air Jordan IX – “Who is Johnny Kilroy” (1994)

In 1994 Michael Jordan just retired from basketball for the first time, but in the Chicago Bulls he plays a Johnny Kilroy who looks disquieting like number 23. A series of commercials that tell a very funny story thanks also to the presence of a hilarious Steve Martin.

6. Nike Basketball – “Freestyle” (2001)

Jason Williams, Rasheed Wallace, Dawn Staley and Vince Carter are the stars of a memorable commercial. Directed by Paul Hunter, this ADV has as its soundtrack Planet Rock by Africa Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force but “remixed” with the squeaking of the shoes on the parquet and the sound of the ball bouncing.

5. Mamba Forever (2020)

Inspiration is forever.

4. Nike Football – “Take It To The Next Level” (2008)

This commercial shot by Guy Ritchie in collaboration with the 72andSunny agency in Los Angeles, is a small masterpiece shot in first person. Perhaps one of the most famous football commercials ever.

3. Air Jordan XII – “Failure” (1997)

Mistakes determine our success. Michael Jordan pronounces his most famous words in a commercial that has become part of the collective imagination.

2. Air Jordan – Michael Jordan & Mars Blackmon (1988-1991)

Spike Lee’s alter ego, Mars Blackmon, and Michel Jordan are the protagonists of a series of memorable commercials that have gone on for four years. These ADVs contributed significantly to making the sneaker game, the incredible global movement we know today.

1. “Just Do It” (1988)

First time ever of Just Do It. Legend has it that the founder of Wieden+Kennedy, Dan Wieden, borrowed these words from death row convict Gary Gilmore (who apparently said “Let’s do it”), but why ruin a good story with the truth? The commercial shows 80-year-old Walt Stack running his 17 miles on the Golden Gate Bridge as he does every morning. Stack, with his 62,000 miles run in his entire life, has been a true icon of the San Francisco running community.

Stylestyle
Written by Andrea Tuzio
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