Inadequacy Marketing vs. Empowerment MarketingBy Rosa Lewis on Thu, 08/09/2012 - 14:27
Nike was not an official partner of the Olympics. This doesn’t mean that they missed out on the huge hype that surrounded it.
Their latest campaign shows amateur athletes from all around the world playing, training and competing in their chosen sports. The thread that holds it all together is that every shot is filmed on location in places named London. From Little London, Jamaica, to East London, South Africa, it is a less than subtle nod to this year’s games.
The concept unsurprisingly creates a stunning short advert that has left many athletes with a glowing feeling and has had well over 4 million views on Youtube.
More interesting, is the second short video that accompanied this in Nike’s ‘Find Your Greatness’ campaign. The advert is essentially one minute of an overweight and unfit young man huffing and puffing along a relatively uninspiring landscape. This has sparked some controversy over whether this advert is degrading to the boy.
In a society where people are getting increasingly overweight, the media (and advertising in particular) seems to be portraying the opposite, with people getting ever skinnier and unrealistically beautiful. It is refreshing to be shown someone’s struggle with exercise and even more importantly for their effort to be championed by a world renowned brand.
This is just another battle in the wider war of inadequacy marketing vs. empowerment marketing.
The backlash started in the 50s with car advertising. In the US, Cadillac represent the archetypal manufacturer – advertising its cars as part of a fantastic lifestyle that you could buy into, if you can just afford the $5,000 price tag (and repeat the process next year when they brought out a brand new model). To counter it, VW released an advert that is credited as one of the best campaigns ever run, ‘Think Small’. Shockingly honest compared to any other manufacturer’s campaigns, the sentiment spoke to many people and was successfully followed up by the ‘Live Below Your Means’ advert.
Nike know who they’re fighting for in this on-going battle and are doing a great job. Previously, their ‘Courage’ campaign roused athletes all around the globe to keep going. Compare that to this Skechers advert, a classic case of inadequacy marketing which tells people that their lives would be much better if only they go and buy these trainers.
A great summary of this fight against making people feel bad to sell stuff was Dove’s Evolution. Showing a girl being transformed from an averagely pretty lady to a stunning billboard advertisement, entirely through Photoshop. This started a campaign to get real women to advertise their products, which went down a storm.
In the future I can only hope that we will be seeing more campaigns that treat their customers as intelligent adults rather than blind consumers.