Know your audience

April 20, 2012

I can’t remember the last commercial that I liked as much as Nike’s current “I Would Run to You” spot for its Nike Free line of running shoes. I want to watch it. Again and again. I want to run to you. And not just the thirty-second version. I want all two and a half minutes of you.

It started a few weeks ago. I’m not sure what I was watching on television that night — or why I wasn’t zipping through the commercials as usual. But there she was — a chirpy redhead in pink sneakers — starting out in Los Angeles, running across the country to meet her hapless everydude boyfriend who was starting out from New York. He makes it maybe a few blocks before collapsing and being picked up by EMTs in Washington Square Park, while she (despite her bad running form which, for some reason, I can overlook) runs up stairs, over mountains, through woods and across plains. They keep up an airy Juno-esque patter for all two and a half minutes of the ad — two and a half minutes in prime time! — and end with a cheeky interpretation of “just do it” as her pink sneakers disappear from the screen and his heart rate jumps. It's not Olympic athletes in golden sneakers. It's not mountaineers swinging from K2. But it is fun. It is funny. It is romantic. (Not that I've ever been accused of being any of these.) Most importantly, though, it is relevant to me, hapless everydude, your customer. Well done, Nike. Strong work.

(Not sure I’m buying pink sneakers, though.)

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