Nike celebrates play over competition with its “Play New” campaign, showcasing elite athletes—and one Grammy winner—trying something new and failing majorly.
Created in collaboration with agency Wieden+Kennedy, the one-minute spot features basketball star Sabrina Ionescu, sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, and Paralympian track and fielder Blake Leeper as they each attempt a sport outside of their wheelhouse. Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Rosalía even manages to get in on the fun as she learns her way around a bow and arrow.
The ad celebrates the notion of “giving it your all, even if you kind of suck.” This sees Asher-Smith on the green bouncing a tree shot back at herself and Rosalía regularly whiffing an entire archery target, among others. There’s room for improvement all around, which is what makes the short so relatable: Every star has a rocky start. Improving is part of the joy of learning.
Beyond the spot, Nike will be introducing full-body Snapchat augmented reality lenses on its new business profile, which will be available once the spot airs. First up are custom lenses for yoga and dancing, which will retain user scores utilizing the platform’s Persistent Storage functionality. Surfing and boxing lenses will be available in subsequent weeks, with others to come.
With this new effort, the brand shows a continued interest in leveraging Snapchat’s lenses in its campaigns, including a recent installation that allowed consumers to virtually “try on” the Air Max 90s before purchase.
As for TikTok, Nike is setting up an ongoing series of “episodic journeys” starring yet-unannounced TikTok creators, all of whom will echo the message of the “Play New” spot and attempt something outside of their comfort zones (and presumably fail at it). This joins more intimate spotlights on Asher-Smith and Ionescu, who will share stories of their come-up and comment on the future of sport for young women. Those additional stories come courtesy of agency R/GA.
The slate of content under the “Play New” campaign will air digitally through the remainder of 2021.