Nike: World Off. Game On: Raducanu’s overhead smash

nike tennisOh the precariousness of being a sports star; one minute you are a contender, showing potential, then if all goes well you burst onto the scene and are lauded to the heavens. What happens next, can define your whole career.

A classic case in point is Emma Raducanu. Her historic triumph at the 2021 US Open in September last year saw her became the first ever player to win the tournament as a qualifier, and earned her celebrity status.

Almost overnight, she became a brand ambassador for LVMH brands Tiffany & Co. and Dior, Evian and British Airways.

But on the court, the past few months have not quite gone to plan and she has yet to reach those dizzy heights again, sparking criticism that her win at Flushing Meadows was “a fluke” and that she is a “one-hit wonder”, who will never be able to repeat her Grand Slam success.

Enter a new campaign from Nike, with a 20-second ad showing Raducanu playing tennis against a dark background. A number of words pop up behind the teenager, alternating between messages of congratulations and condemnation – “Distracted,” “Perfect,” “Fluke,” “Flawless,” “One-hit wonder.” But all the while, Raducanu remains unaffected by the things being said behind her back.

At the end of the ad, Raducanu resets to face her next point as the words “World off. Game on.” flash upon the screen, followed by the Nike logo.

In an Instagram post, the sportswear giant said: “Bromley’s own @emmaraducanu has started her first full year on tour. Her plan? Same as it’s always been. Shut out the noise and take on the opportunity of each challenge.”
On what the future holds, Nike said: “Emma knows the journey forward is all about progress. And progress comes one point at a time.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Well, sadly her first test of 2022, the Australian Open, didn’t quite work out, with Raducanu being knocked out in the second round.

But Nike rarely gets it wrong. After all, the brand sponsored the Brit long before she won a Grand Slam, joining the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Serena Williams, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Didier Drogba.

The ad is stripped back, there’s no soundtrack, there’s no voiceover but it doesn’t need it. In just 20-seconds it shows the focus needed to succeed. As Nike would like to say, it just does it.

Decision Marketing Adometer: An “Advantage Nike” 9 out of 10

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