New Nike ad celebrates being rubbish at sport

Nike’s new ad is part of a campaign titled Play New, which emphasises the joy of taking part in sport, even if you’re a bit crap at it

Gone are the earnest voiceovers and the gripping tales of winning against the odds. Instead, the tone of the latest commercial from Nike is, well, kind of kooky.

Titled Play New, the spot is the first piece of work in a larger campaign which aims to find “joy in movement, play and competition”. While it features big name athletes including Sabrina Ionescu, Dina Asher-Smith and Blake Leeper, the spot doesn’t show them excelling at the sports we know them for but instead trying out something new and missing shots, falling over and generally messing it up.

It all feels quite un-Nike, but is refreshing for it, with the clear message being the old adage that it’s not always the winning but the taking part that counts. Plus for once it makes those of us that are keen-but-crap at sport seem normal.

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Creative Directors: Alberto Ponte, Ryan O’Rourke
Creatives: Kevin Steele, Naoki Ga
Company: Pulse
Directors: thirtytwo