Nike Takes the Olympic Spotlight

It’s hard not to see Nike’s newest outstandingly viral advertisement as a gauntlet thrown down at Olympic sponsors—and the Games themselves.

It’s probably safe to call this a strategy on Nike’s part by now. The brand avoids sponsoring the biggest sporting events, opting to play off their glory instead. And it works. In 2010, it was the World Cup.The official ad is no longer online, but even unofficial uploads are near to matching the views of Adidas’s World Cup ad —and Adidas was a sponsor.

Now here we are again, two summers later, and this time Nike has come out swinging. If you watch the ad, you’ll see that the brand is aggressive about a single message: it’s not the Games, it’s the drive. A gold medal isn’t the only mark of a winner.

Of course, it does it all without using terms like “games” or “gold,” since those words are locked down for sponsors right now. “London,” on the other hand, features heavily.

Over 4 million views in less than a week, and an ad that distinctively ties this non-sponsor to the Olympic Games? We’ll call that a win.

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