Our beloved Brew.

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R.I.P. Big guy.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Nike Gets Olympic Ad Right While Chobani Has Cultural Stumble

Nike's contention that if you have a body, you're an athlete is at the heart of its brand and the longstanding "Just Do It." slogan. Those who study such things would tell you that the Nike vision statement is based on a concept along the lines of unleashing the athlete within each person. In that context, the newest ad featuring 12 year-old Nathan Sorrell is very consistent. Nathan is 5'-3" and weighs 200 pounds, which makes him something other than the ideal image of a great athlete.

The ad, "Find Your Greatness,"  opens with a shot down a long, boring, desolate highway with Nathan jogging in the distance, toward the camera. The Internet has been abuzz with comments since the ad first ran during the Olympics. Some people have expressed being inspired by the ad, others consider it demeaning and exploitative, while still others complain it tries to shame heavy kids into exercising.

Personally, as an overweight person, I was inspired not so much to lose weight but to do brand strategy at the standard this Nike ad achieves. My first words to my daughter, who was viewing the ad with me for the first time was, "Wow. Nike really understands how to execute to its brand position."

One aspect of the ad that I appreciated most is not only is Nathan moving, but so is the camera. In other words, the goal keeps moving as one progresses and achieves. Nathan's greatness is still ahead of him and not a single destination. Brilliant.

On the other hand, Chobani Greek-style yogurt ads were way off the mark for me. Let me start by saying I love the product and hate the ad. "Naturally powering the U.S. Olympic Team" is about as meaningless a slogan as might be created. Are we to believe the U.S. team is gaining some significant power from yogurt? To make matters worse, it presents its "naturally proud" to be a sponsor by suggesting that Chobani is somehow capable of cornering the use of the word "natural." They go further down this sappy road by suggesting they are a humble little company based in some rural, tight knit town where everyone turns out to watch the Olympics on an over sized, community, hand-built screen in a public setting. Hokey to the point it makes me want to gag.

It's not authentic, and it's not relevant, Chobani. What is it about your authentic brand position that the agency didn't feel was appropriate for the Olympics? Why spend all the money you did to run and ad that pretends to be acknowledging a hometown athlete when it was such a thinly disguised act of chest beating?

For what it's worth, I will be buying another brand of Greek-style yogurt for the foreseeable future until I can get over your self-serving, misguided and weak attempt to tug at America's heartstrings. I can just hear the creative people at the agency considering the ad. "As long as we work 'natural' in somewhere, the client will get it." Your agency got to spend a lot of money on an ad that was well below the standards of the product you produce and completely off strategy for the brand. But because you spent big bucks to run it so extensively, it created lots of name awareness and most importantly from the agency perspective, it will trigger lots of recall during the showing of their new business reel.