Nike ad featuring Deepika Padukone brings girl power to the fore

Nike’s new ad campaign, which features Deepika Padukone and several female athletes, marks a departure from past women-centric sports advertising in India


Nike and advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy wanted to depict the incredible power of sport and start a larger conversation that inspires women to get out there and play more.
Nike and advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy wanted to depict the incredible power of sport and start a larger conversation that inspires women to get out there and play more.

Mumbai: In what is probably a first for Nike India, the sportswear brand has launched a new music video aimed at girls, urging them to go out and play a sport. The video, which features Nike’s brand ambassador Deepika Padukone and several female athletes, stands for girl power and marks a departure from past women-centric sports advertising in India. It also broadens the scope for the brand, which has primarily focused on cricket in its India campaigns.

The music video, which was launched early on Monday, had already got close to a million views on actor Padukone’s Facebook page.

“Sport has taught me how to handle failure. It has also taught me how to handle success. It has kept me grounded. It has taught me humility. Two years ago I struggled with depression. I was sinking. I almost gave up. But it was the athlete in me that gave me the strength to fight and never ever give up! And so I want to say to every girl and every boy and every woman and every man...play a sport...because it changed my life...and it will change yours too!” she said in a post on her page.

Padukone played national-level badminton before turning to acting. Her father Prakash Padukone was ranked the world’s number one badminton player in 1980, when he won the All England championship.

Rani Rampal, who in 2010 at the age of 15 became the youngest player in India’s national field hockey team, in a statement released by Nike said that sports helped her build self-assurance.

“Coming from a small village never stopped me; every time I won a medal I kept getting stronger and more confident to take on the world.”

When they were going over the brand strategy for the campaign, the teams at Nike and Wieden+Kennedy, the advertising agency that has created the ad, wanted to depict the incredible power of sport and start a larger conversation that inspires women to get out there and play more. But the campaign had to be inspiring and fun.

““The trouble with all the sports vocabulary out there is that it’s steeped in all the struggles to becoming an elite athlete. But in reality, anyone can be an athlete. All you need to do is to start running,” said Mohamed Rizwan, creative director at Wieden+Kennedy Delhi.

What the video conveys is that today, Padukone, 30, and Rampal, 21, spend their days in radically different ways, yet their paths to success are similar: each acquired the discipline and confidence to succeed to her participation in sport.

“We had to make sure it (ad) spoke to girls and inspired them to go out and play a sport. That’s when we decided to do a music video. The music was meant to be a great workout track and was specially created for this campaign, and the video was fun and stylish, a complete makeover from the serious self-conscious tone most brands had taken with women and sport,” he said.

The music video titled “Da Da Ding,” is part of the new Nike - Just Do It campaign. This is advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy’s first-ever campaign for Nike in India since it won the account in 2015. The campaign will run on television and outdoor as well as well as on digital media.

Findings suggest that female participation in sport helps to alter a girl or woman’s self-image in numerous ways, including feelings of control, competence and strength, said a statement from Nike.

The campaign marks a shift in strategy for the brand as it broadens its messaging to focus on this growing consumer segment.

“Women across the world are embracing sport and an active lifestyle like never before… Globally, we see amazing momentum, our women’s business revenue is already $5 billion and over the next two years we aim to grow it by $2 billion to reach $7 billion by the end of FY17,” said a Nike spokesperson in an email response.

Nike is also the official apparel sponsor of the Indian national women’s cricket and football teams.

The campaign was shot over six days in Mumbai by director François Rousselet, who has made music videos for people like Kanye West, the American rapper. Its cast of over 160 girls includes footballer Jyoti Ann Burrett and cricketers Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandana and Shubhlakshmi Sharma, trainers, school and college students and influencers, among others.

“Through their stories, we aim to ignite a sport movement,” said the spokesperson at Nike India. The song is a music collaboration with lyrics co-written by rapper Gizzle and Wieden+Kennedy. It was produced by Genera8ion, known better as the producer of singer M.I.A’s album Matangi.

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