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Consumerism Is Evil But Nike's Londoner Ad Is NOT

Ryan Bassil

Ryan Bassil

Capitalism come and eat me up!!

It’s been said that adverts corrupt the mind. Like many people, I am an absolute sucker for them. Show me a promotional video for the Grand Big Mac and I’ll be at the nearest McDonalds in minutes panting with excitement. The long drawl of “waaaaaaaaaaasup” had my dumb child brain connecting Budweiser with the idea of being the best alcohol brand (lol) long before I was old enough to purchase it. In their synapse-stroking, influencing form, adverts have made me do terrible things.

Not all commercials need to end in a soul-destroying or body-tarnishing purchase, though. Beneath the obvious undertones of needing to sell a product, sometimes they can do good things, promote positivity, bring people together – all of which probably makes me completely brainwashed by the advertising industry but does not mean I don’t think the new Nike advert is amazing. It is so good I wish I was born as an advert and not a human. I would like to be this advert.

By now you’ve seen the Nike advert. How could you not? In just a few hours it’s been scattered across social networks and text messages and Whatsapps and in-real-life-conversations like the big advertising God took a gigantic shit from atop his pedestal in the sky, except the shit is the advert (a good advert) and it is now covering literally every single surface of the toilet bowl we once knew to be life. Splattered, covered, completely unavoidable – all over everything everywhere.

You’ll know the advert is called NOTHING BEATS A LONDONER (watch below). The capital letters should make it feel as though the advert’s name is being screamed through a megaphone from the rooftop of Oxford Circus’ Nike Town by a crazed marketing exec, hell-bent on power and slightly unhinged, but in fact – having seen the advert more times than I have consecutively watched any advert – it comes across a rather defiant statement of fact.

A list of some but not all people featured in NOTHING BEATS A LONDONER:

– Skepta

– Giggs

– People Just Do Nothing

– Big Shaq

– Jorja Smith

– Little Simz

– J Hus

– AJ Tracey

– Dave

These are some of the musicians (this is a music site, we will talk about music first). They also appear alongside a reported 285 British athletes including Harry Kane, Eden Hazard and Mo Farah in the advert which was largely shot in Brixton, Peckham and Dalston. That’s: A) a lot of bags secured and; B) a timely, very "of the now" representation of British culture. It’s also a great showcase of the interminable link between music, sport and fashion. And – perhaps most importantly – it doesn’t finish with me wanting to go and splash payday on some trainers but instead makes me feel a little bit lighter, positive and with a renewed sense of togetherness in our city.

Time and time again adverts attempt to appeal to the topic of the day and fail spectacularly hard. Remember the Kendall Jenner x Pepsi horrorshow? Not so for this. Sorry to be the Adverts Are Good Actually guy, but Adverts Are Actually Good (Occasionally) and This One Is Very Good. In the face of increasing political and social polarity in the UK, this Nike advert is a celebration of some of the many cultures and people that make Britain – and in particular London – the good place it can be underneath the grim newspaper headlines.

That Nike have smashed a tonne of cash on creating this is a good thing to see. Of course it can be argued that writing or reacting to the advert in this way is playing into the shady money-grabbing hands of what is ostensibly the world’s biggest footwear company but fuck all of that for now: the world is terrible enough as it is and this advert from Nike is a brief and brilliant respite from the turmoil of the day and a celebratory reminder of all the good things going on. I want to bathe in this ad, I want to eat it, slather it on my skin and put it in my ears. It is good.

You can find Ryan on Twitter.