Nike says Make It Count

Nike has launched a campaign for the new year, suggesting that we all step up and ‘Make It Count’. The campaign stars a number of the UK’s top athletes making personal pledges for 2012. It then encourages everyone else to join in on Twitter, by announcing their own goals via the hashtag #makeitcount.

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Nike has launched a campaign for the new year, suggesting that we all step up and ‘Make It Count’. The campaign stars a number of the UK’s top athletes making personal pledges for 2012. It then encourages everyone else to join in on Twitter, by announcing their own goals via the hashtag #makeitcount.

Created by Wieden + Kennedy London and AKQA, the campaign includes a series of posters shot by photographer Adam Hinton, which show the athletes at the most intense (and at times painful-looking) moments during training. Each athlete’s pledge is then written on top of the image. These vary from the straightforward – “Don’t dream of winning. Train for it.” from Mo Farah – to the stark: Paula Radclliffe’s poster simply states that “nearly isn’t enough”. In addition there is a series of online films, directed by Joe Roberts, expanding on the theme. Mo Farah and Rio Ferdinand’s films are shown below.

As well as being shown on poster sites and online, Adam Hinton’s portraits will be displayed in Nike’s 1948 store in Shoreditch, London from January 18. “We wanted to show the sheer hard work and determination these athletes put into the sports they love,” says Hinton of the images. “To be at the top of their game requires enormous amounts of blood, sweat and tears and they train hard, pushing themselves to the limit to get there.”

There will also be a further in-store component to the campaign at Nike’s flagship London stores in Westfield Stratford City and Oxford Street, where shoppers will be photographed alongside their own handwritten pledges, with the resulting images displayed around the stores.

While no mention of the Olympics is made in the ads (Nike is not an official partner of the Games), the theme of the campaign and the decision to use UK athletes only makes it difficult not to link it to the event. We can only hope then that the notorious ‘curse of the Nike ad’ (seen most clearly in the 2010 World Cup, where virtually all the football stars featured in Nike’s campaign were either injured or underperformed) doesn’t happen again here…

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy London, AKQA
ECDs (W+K): Tony Davidison, Kim Papworth
Creative directors (W+K): Darren Wright, Guy Featherstone
ECD (AKQA): Duan Evans
Creative director (AKQA): Simon Schmitt
Creatives (AKQA): Guy Bingley, Carlos Matias
Photographer: Adam Hinton
Director: Joe Roberts
Production company: AKQA, PD3




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  • Jason

    “Yet more meaningless bullshit from a sports brand”


  • John

    Is that Paula Radcliffe’s ‘squeezing one out’ face?

    Seriously though, did they really have to put the Plus beside the ‘Tick’?

  • VW

    I quite like the personally touch from each athlete, some good inspirational quotes for keen youngsters. @John the + next to the tick is their training app. I agree #makeitcount is a bit meaning less, but I like the posters messages.

    I like them.

  • Rob

    I’m sure people will find lots of ways to whinge about this (because it’s Nike? because it’s about Sports? I don’t know) but the simple fact of the matter is that W+K have put together another above-average creative campaign for a global brand that could so easily be dull and safe. Nike consistently commission exciting, interesting and unusual work and I think that’s something that should be really celebrated.

    Obviously its quite a simple idea but tying in with the time of the year makes sense to me when there is going to be a huge spike in people popping out to buy running shoes…

    I saw the Mo Farah image on the front of the Metro today (with Mark Cavendish on the back of the wrap around) and thought they looked very striking. I noticed some video billboards of this at Old Street station last night too which also caught my eye (although that was also because the poster featured a sportsman i admire – but thats the whole point)


    the + next to the logo is presumably a reference to “Nike +” which is their thing where you sign up and can set goals and targets for yourself etc (and they can sell you expensive trainers with a computer in too, i think?)

  • David

    Whilst I think the Plus sign is a bit ugly, I have to admit I instantly read it as ‘Nike Plus’ which, in a campaign about going the extra mile, is pretty clever, IMHO.

  • Neek

    Do you mean the swoosh?

  • Gotta say, I’m liking it – although Paula isn’t doing anything to make me think running is enjoyable.

  • Jason


    Dull and safe is exactly what it is…

    Photo of athlete + inspirational quote (Oh, and a hashtag to ‘get everyone involved’)

  • I like the the personal touch with handwritten comments, presumably by the athletes!?

    I wonder if Nike had to set up the twitter accounts for each individual, or whether they already existed? Either way, I hope they reply :)

  • Sam

    To all who are saying the plus is ugly and thinking its about going the extra mile, it might be worth knowing that Nike Plus is a massive part of their brand now and its been around for sometime! If you are into running particularly then you would know, and these are obviously aimed at someone who is already into sport.

  • Rob


    would you prefer this approach or one where they used models or stock imagery, fresh colours (blue for the boys and pink for the girls, of course) and a more clichéd approach to copy? i think the “inspiration through graft” approach is a good one rather than “inspiration through desire to be a more sexy person”. Ok, big striking photo + copy/quote is not exactly a revolution in design but taking that cynical approach is going to unpick about 90% of all advertising, in which case we’d have nothing to talk about would we.

    so, what would you prefer to see for a global sports brands new campaign that promotes their products which revolve around self improvement (specifically Nike+)?

  • Paul Radcliffe – my favourite ‘No.2’ But seriously – handwriting is personal and usually the sincerest mark of endorsement. In these ads they all appear to have been scribed by the same fair hand – therefore integrity is called into question. Could be all an unsweet coincidence but I am saying what I see.

  • Richard

    They aren’t the same handwriting. If you look closely at the letterforms, they are all different. Whether or not they are the actually handwriting of the athletes I don’t know. Frankly I don’t really care. It just seems more of the same from Nike. It doesn’t surprise me as a campaign, and the films are a bit bland.

  • David

    I really like the strong, yet personal messages from the athletes, inspiring, but not naff.


    it’s ‘swoosh’ not ‘tick’ btw.

  • I like the personal quality. I think it is nice to see the handwriting of the individual. They are also putting their reputations on the line. I’m a follower of the Tour de France and everytime Mark Cavendish comes close to winning a stage I’m going to think about the piece. I may think about it when he actually wins a stage. We’ll have to wait a few years on the ‘greatest’ part.

    I also like the challenge it puts out there to the closest competitors to these athletes. It would give me a bit of kick in the pants if I was endorsed by another athletic gear company.

    I wonder how the campaign would work if it was applied to teachers, politicians, etc.

  • KathyH456

    Adam Hinton’s shots are stunning. Good solid work by W+K as usual.

  • Jason

    I’m willing to bet that the handwriting is the athletes own but the actual copy is scripted.


    So you’re saying I have to like this because it’s better than using stock images and bright colours? I’m not picking at the design, I actually think they look great – I’d just prefer to see something with a concept for a change.

  • michael

    Why does it feel so much like the one gatorade has done in December?

    would have expected more from wk. it’s too generic

  • Love the photography, like the copy. If the handwriting (and indeed the pledge) isn’t the athletes, then it completely devalues the message.

  • Rob


    No no, you definitely don’t have to like it that’s for sure – but I think there is an important (and often overlooked) difference between liking something and recognising its quality and merits, especially within its context.

  • Chris

    Agree with Rob.

    Difficult for them to screw it up; but Nike continually push the envelope with progressive and engaging advertising. They haven’t become the predominant sports brand by being dull and predictable, if that was the case people would look elsewhere. The graphic design employed is usually very fresh and provoking. I think some would be surprised to know the studios/individuals Nike have used in the past to colour their brand.

    That being said Nike’s appeal is perpetual.

    The want to better oneself physically comes without any real pressure from brands, it’s a natural human characteristic. It increases chances for better mates and opportunities, sheesh – you might even get on TV. Nike were smart enough to spot this decades ago. Sign some sport heros to carry the themes of greatness it’s all sealed.

    Nike have done it and done it well for decades. Screw the cynics.

  • Michael Brabant

    It’s ok from Nike, but I prefer what asics have recently done, check out this 2 minute clip of Jan Frodeno the Olympic champion… it’s a bit more of a real insight into his training and the hardwork that goes into. I think if I watch the Mo Farah one, although I really admire him, 50% of the shots are of the Nike Shoe….. :)

  • r

    ..really like them. As I did the first time I saw them

  • Jean Grogan

    “While no mention of the Olympics is made in the ads (Nike is not an official partner of the Games), …”

    Ouch! I’m sure Nike its hardest to be a partner of the Olympics, so what about all those ‘Nearly Isn’t Enough’ / ‘Remain the Greatest’ slogans?


  • I’m normally a big fan of Nike’s print and TV ads, but even I have to admit these are pretty dull by their standards. The photography isn’t candid at all so the athletes are giving about 40% effort in campaigns that are supposed to inspire us to bust our balls. Even the scribbled quotes are pretty weak.

    @Neek they’re talking about the ‘+’ that accompanies the ‘Swoosh’

  • Papa Moomin

    You can see the spokes on Cav’s wheels.
    He’s obviously putting it on as I’ve never seen them on his bike before, unless he was still.

  • I love the filming and production used for these ads. In regards to Johns comment, it looks like there all trying to “squeeze one out.”

  • Does it ‘count’ when you get stabbed for a pair of their shoes?

  • Tom

    I appreciate the attempt at trying to trend a hash-tag, but I dont think they should have jeopardized the design for it, none the less, i love the personal touch from all the athletes.

  • Production was done by ManaMedia UK …