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Nike’s LDNR ad features numerous famous and not-so-famous Londoners in a spot that celebrates the capital’s hard-earned sporting reputation. Released as UK schools commenced the half-term break, the campaign reflects Nike’s commitment to supporting and inspiring young Londoners to play more sport. We discover the insights behind the ad and understand how Nike has captured the spirit of London’s youth.

In Wieden+Kennedy’s three-minute spot, fast-paced action celebrates how young Londoners get active against all odds, celebrating the capital’s diversity and its collective spirit. Familiar faces include grime artist Skepta, Olympic athlete Mo Farah, and comedian Michael Dapaah. While it makes light of some of the city’s stereotypes, the ad also sees young Londoners talking about the plights of urban sports participation. “Ever played tennis in London?” asks one girl as she serves on both a sodden and iced-over tennis court, while a teenage boy explains how, due to a lack of buses or trains, he has “to run all the way from Zone 6 with my school bag.”

Released just before UK schools entered the half-term holidays, the ad is reflective of Nike’s commitment to getting young people to be more active; 75 of Nike’s sponsored athletes will visit 250 venues in London’s local communities in the hope of inspiring more young people into sport. While the 2012 Olympics hoped to leave a legacy for increased sports participation in the UK, government initiatives have somewhat fallen flat, with the number of people regularly playing sports actually falling since the games.

Nike shows it understands the barriers preventing people from playing sport
Nike | YouTube (2018) ©

“London is a sports-obsessed city and its intersection with culture sparked by the next generation of youth is shaping a new wave of creative expression and celebration of sports,” says Jamie McCall, Nike’s senior marketing director. “‘Nothing Beats a Londoner’ puts a spotlight on this vibrant youth culture and a more exciting, inclusive sports community with Nike at the heart of getting more kids moving across the city.” The campaign is accompanied by a web page detailing dedicated spaces across the city where young people can try out a new sport over the week – from BMX taster sessions to dance battles.

By enlisting pop culture figureheads of the moment alongside budding athletes, Nike captures a whole spectrum of the city’s spirit. Its lively script, full of in-jokes and references to youth tribes and neighbourhoods, shows a nuanced understanding of some of the relatable quirks of London life – which, in part, is why #nothingbeatsalondoner became a top trending hashtag on the day of its release, resonating with the 81% of Gen Yers who expect brands to make a public commitment to citizenship, and capitalising on how people spend 46% more on brands that invest time and effort in connecting with customers in a meaningful way. With this campaign, Nike celebrates its target demographic from the inside track, presenting itself as not just any sports clothing brand, but the one that knows Londoners best. 

Mica Anthony is Canvas8’s editorial assistant. She’s passionate about uncovering the newest electronic music producers, re-living ‘90s fashion and championing the voices often left out of mainstream media.

12 Feb 18
3 min read

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