Nike essentially put the world on notice earlier this week when it launched a new print ad starring Colin Kaepernick: We’re taking our role as a cultural icon very seriously. Well, if you thought that one tweet kicked up a storm, now the brand has unveiled its first video starring and narrated by the former NFL quarterback.
“Dream Crazy” is the second film of the 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign, following last week’s homage to Serena Williams. Since we haven’t heard Kaepernick speak publicly in such a long time, you may not recognize his voice at first as he offers inspirational nods to the achievements of superstars like LeBron James, Williams, and Odell Beckham Jr., as well as the U.S. women’s national soccer team, Canadian teenage soccer star Alphonso Davies, and wheelchair athlete Megan Blunk. The gist? Forget expectations and the well-trod path, opt to blaze your own instead.
It’s an apt sentiment, and one the brand has taken to heart, given the uproar around its renewed endorsement of Kaepernick.
Set aside the controversy, though, and this is a classic example of the type of sports ad Nike and its longtime agency Wieden+Kennedy invented. An inspirational blend of global superstars and hardscrabble nobodies, given equal billing on the grand stage of athletic achievement. Sports as spiritual quest. Except this time, it’s steeped in a message that extends beyond the games to something that aims to push the culture forward.
Amid its vast library of great, funny, inspirational ads stretching back decades, this is one of Nike’s best and most important of all time.