Just Do It

Just Do It.  Nike’s famous catch phrase packs the perfect punch of inspiration, and when it is combined with legendary athletic footage, the world’s best athletes, and the sickest gear on the planet you get yourself a hefty slice of motivational pie.  

From the very beginning Nike has used the image of success and prestige as the forefront of their product.  The symbols and images in this advertisement, released in Asian Countries leading up to the AFC Asian Cup, continue that thread of success and prestige. The ad uses semiotics, framing and imagery to inspire and motivate athletes to not only perform better but also (conveniently) to buy Nike products.

When we look at this ad the main point is pretty clear.  This Nike Product will allow us (the consumer) to succeed (be good at soccer), but how is that message presented to us? It is presented through symbols. The soccer player is the main symbol. He is a symbol of us, the consumer. He is wearing Nike product and he is quite literally destroying his opponent.  You might be saying that soccer player isn’t me, its Safiq Rahim, the Malaysian star, but that is what Nike is trying to get us to think. Safiq Rahim might mean nothing to us here in America, but the ad campaign is aimed at Asian countries. In Asia, Rahim is a symbol of prestige, success, and uncanny physical ability. Symbolically, if we use Nike’s product we can be as successful as the Malaysian captain.

Through semiotics we can better understand different signs and symbols used in advertising. If you look closely at the top corner of this ad there is symbol representing this specific product (Air zoom Total 90 Supremacy).

The tiger above is the signifier. Prestige, success, fierceness, and power are the signified. When put together they make a sign that we relate to the Nike product.

A tiger. What does a tiger symbolize to us? Fierceness, wildness, danger, power, as well as majesty, and even prestige. People link the Total 90 Cleats to the tiger. When they see the cleats the tigers image appears in their head.  The sign leads to an idea that if they own the product they too can be Fierce, wild, dangerous, majestic powerful and even prestigious.

The last symbol is the opponent.  The opponent is framed as not really a person but rather words. Hurtful words, like Weak, cry baby, loser and can’t. These words are framed in a way that causes emotions of inferiority. Nobody likes to be inferior.  This aspect of the advertisement adds another aspect of success that we might not have thought about prior. This soccer player isn’t merely beating his opponent, but he is proving a point.  He isn’t only fighting a physical battle but a mental one.  He will beat out all the doubt and shame and “Just Do It”.

What a powerful platform to advertise with.  All of us desire to be successful we want to win, to be seen as a champion. We like being motivated. We all desire to overcome weaknesses, to prove people wrong, to show them that we can when they say we can’t. That is what Nike is selling.

The ad works. We look at Nike as a company we see how successful they are, and we know that their advertisements work. The idea of overcoming challenges to reach a goal, inspires us, we feed off of it!  Nike links that feeling to their product, making us, as consumers, think that through their product we will gain success. I have seen this first hand.   Before a soccer match the first thing I check is to see if my competition is wearing a fresh pair of top of the line Nike cleats. If they are, I automatically think we are in for a challenge. Nike has ingrained in my mind an image of power and dominance through their well-designed advertisements and media.

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of Nike’s largest images of success and prestige