Extolling the Virtues of Beautifully Crafted Copy aka Ads I Like

I was thinking today of my relationship with running and my inability to commit to “The Big Race”.  More on that in another post.  For now though, the thought trail led me down memory lane and I remembered New Balance’s love/hate advertising campaign.

I can identify with this ad.  I’m sure most runners can.  Mmm, warm blankets, sleep, zzzzzz vs Ugh, cold running clothes, windchill, yowza, I’m awake!  Legs feel like lead vs I’m ALIVE!

It’s been a while since advertising campaigns have really grabbed my attention.  It may seem quite trivial to discuss the impact marketing/advertising can have in your life but really – take a look around you – commercialism is everywhere.  Of course it would have an impact on anyone. 

When I think of popular campaigns, I remember Nike.  Just Do It.  Bo Knows.  And let us not forget Nike’s whole Women campaign from the 1990’s.  That campaign spoke volumes to me. That was a truly beautiful campaign.

If you walked into my dorm room, you would have been greeted by a centrefold of Bo Jackson in a bathtub (soooo wish I had a scan of that to plop in here – If any readers have a jpg of this ad, feel free to share!) surrounded by a wall of Nike adverts with that all-too-familiar font.  Nike was wordy back then.  That suited me well.  It made things stick.  The words gave me inspiration from which to draw motivation.  In researching this post (sifting through pages on the internet seeking out the old ads), I learned that the creative genius behind the Nike Women campaign that affected me so, was Janet Champ.  Her attitude of empowerment was flashed in my face when I was in my early 20s, trying to figure out who I was, who I wanted to be and what I could do.  I was ripe for the picking and their perfect consumer.

I fell in love with Janet’s copy.  I believed there was no stopping me.  I believed I could be anything I wanted to be and do anything I wanted to.  It may sound silly but if you look at the impact their campaign had and the response to it, you’ll know that I’m not alone in my sentiments.  You may even be just like me and have felt similarly upon reading their ads.  The art and copy wasn’t just a promotional tool.  They were pieces of art.  To that end, some ads from this campaign are actually displayed in the Smithsonian.  Part of me wishes I still had those dog-eared bits of paper.  I would show them to my daughter.  I wonder what her reaction would be and if she would draw energy from that beautifully crafted copy. Would those words inspire her and re-enforce that she is strong, capable and unstoppable?

Did these beautifully crafted words make me a better person and shape who I am today? Who knows. I do know that in those turbulent years of my early 20’s, when I was creating the person I would become, in times of indecision, I would look at my postered walls, pick up my gym shoes and Just Do It. (The shoes weren’t Nike btw, so the ads spurred me to action but not the purchasing kind of action.)

It’s International Women’s Day and therefore fitting that I post some of the ads from the Nike Women Campaign.  I threw in the Bo Knows commercial just for fun.  That and “I’m Not a Runner” – more current but one of my faves.

(Click on the ads to read the text.)

Nike: Measure of a Woman

Nike: 40 yr old woman

I so wish I had the ad that contained this brilliant copy:

You were born a daughter. You looked up to your mother. You looked up to your father. You looked up at everyone. You wanted to be a princess. You thought you were a princess. You wanted to own a horse. You wanted to be a horse. You wanted your brother to be a horse. You wanted to wear pink. You never wanted to wear pink. You wanted to be a Veterinarian. You wanted to be President. You wanted to be the President’s Veterinarian. You were picked last for the team. You were the best one on the team. You refused to be on the team. You wanted to be good in algebra. You hid during algebra. You wanted the boys to notice you. You were afraid the boys would notice you. You started to get acne. You started to get breasts. You started to get acne that was bigger than your breasts. You wouldn’t wear a bra. You couldn’t wait to wear a bra. You couldn’t fit into a bra. You didn’t like the way you looked. You didn’t like the way your parents looked. You didn’t want to grow up. You had your first best friend. You had your first date. You had your second best friend. You had your second first date. You spent hours on the telephone. You got kissed. You got to kiss back. You went to the prom. You didn’t go to the prom. You went to the prom with the wrong person. You spent hours on the telephone. You fell in love. You fell in love. You fell in love. You lost your best friend. You lost your other best friend. You really fell in love. You became a steady girlfriend. You became a significant other. YOU BECAME SIGNIFICANT TO YOURSELF. Sooner or later, you start taking yourself seriously. You know when you need a break. You know when you need a rest. You know what to get worked up about and what to get rid of. And you know when it’s time to take care of yourself, for yourself. To do something that makes you stronger, faster, more complete. Because you know it’s never too late to have a life. And never too late to change one. JUST DO IT.


Poetry in Motion

On days like this, when I don’t want to put on my shoes…
When I don’t want to tie up my laces…
When I don’t want to step out that door into the cool, moisture-laden air that will give me goosebumps…
I do it anyway.

I make it through the first kilometer and then the second and the goosebumps have disappeared.
Soon enough I’m not thinking about distance.
My mind wanders through the tangled ideas that wind through my brain until quite suddenly, I’m at the trailhead.

The temperature is cooler here, fueled by overgrown foliage and a swollen stream.
Signs of flooding abound and there is a smell of decay that lingers in certain places.
No signs of rabbits today. Just goldfinches followed by dogs and their owners.
All too soon, the trail ends.
I’m almost home now; just a few clicks left to go.
It’s a fairly unremarkable run.
And then, it happens.

It is as though my feet have a mind of their own.
This is effortless!
There is no stopping these feet!
I feel powerful, strong and capable of anything!
I am soaring above the ground and it is amazing!
I can handle anything that comes my way!
I can run FOREVER!
A lifetime seems to pass by, in the space of ½ a block.
Something breaks the momentum and it is gone.

Normal pace resumes.
I pass my street and choose to continue, with hopes of recapturing the magic that was.
It doesn’t happen.
I slow to a stop.
I am happy that I put on my shoes…
I am happy that I tied my laces…
I am happy that I stepped out into the cool moisture-laden air…
And I will do it again.

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