Monday, August 9, 2010

A Deeper Look at Nike Soccer's "Play Like An American" Ad

Cool advertisement again from Nike Soccer using the same set of boys from their previous ad "Paving The Way". For the next generation of kids that play sports we, as American soccer fans, want them to chose this sport. We want them to become stars and, if not, fans of the game they played.


Three Things We Took Issue With

1) Where My Girls At?

Again, as many others have discussed this with the previous ad, there are no girls in this ad. Perhaps both were filmed at the same time, but if not Nike it just tone deaf.  Female players in the U.S. can be inspired to play by the USMNT (Donovan, Dempsey, Howard, et al), too.  Now I'm sure if the Women's Team won the World Cup (again) their might not be any boys in it, but why not?

2) "And then I will date your girlfriend"

Really, Nike? I know someone in the room with the ping pong table where all your hip marketing guys (clearly just guys) hang out and bounce ideas off each other thought this was a killer line delivered in dead-pan by a kid of an age that he probably still thinks girls have cooties. But more to the point, if you're already taking heat from female fans about the lack of girls in the ad then you objectify them? Lastly, given the fact that Donovan just went across the pond and rumor had it, slept with someone (now we know that there's no "love child," but still no denial of the sex had), is this the joke you want to make in a commercial that he makes a cameo in? But the joke implies with success comes you-know-what.

3) Hardly a mention of our domestic league as the object of future desire for these kids.

Major League Soccer is sponsored by adidas. They supply the jerseys, the balls, the advertising revenue for the league. Nike and adidas are, of course, rivals, and the Oregon-based corporation may or may not have been cognizant of this fact when they omitted the mention of playing for the United States in the United States.

The same kid that will be stealing girlfriends in Europe stated "I will start here," but that only means he is American, not that he developed in MLS or played in college here. Don't we want America's best and brightest (by the time he's of age to be courted by teams) to want to play in the United States? Do we think that in ten years time our MLS won't be a home for America's best talent. Do we still want to be a farm-system country?

We're probably thinking waaaaaay too much into this, but if we're dreaming big, like these kids are, we should be dreaming of a domestic game and a domestic soccer culture that these kids want to play for and play in front of; not just when it comes to the Nike-sponsored U.S. National Team.

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Anonymous said...

Domestic leagues aren't good enough to be the long term objective of kids growing up in Argentina, Brazil, or the US.

MLS has a looooooong way to go to become something more than say the soccer version of AA or AAA baseball or the AHL on the way to the NHL.

As the father of an 8yo and a 6yo son, that kid is not to young to be thinking about dating someone's girlfriend.

And as the father ofa 3yo daughter, the issue with the "Thank You" ad was a lot tighter than to this ad. No young girls are going to grow up and play in the EPL or for the USMNT.

That's what this ad is about.

Personally, I don't have a problem if Nike uses Abby Wambach & Hope Solo to appeal to young girls in this country and ads like this to appeal to young boys.

T-Pat said...

1. Nike did pick up the internet cries from the previous ad and were more specific in how these were the future of the USMNT

2. It was more of a shot across the bow to the Big 3 people

3. Why would Nike talk about MLS, who is sponsored by a competitor?

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