Nike Says Here I Am, Just Do Me


Over at Gawker, Nike is taking a beating for a new slogan it's testing in a new campaign targeting women in Europe. The tagline, "Here I am" is humorously pointed out to have, well, and interesting relationship with the parent tagline,"Just Do It." The relationship? The actionable "do it" portion of the parent tagline is seen to be a bit, well, awkwardly demeaning when placed next to the more submissive "Here I Am."

So is Nike telling the bulk of its audience to just do it with submissive women in Europe who will just lay down and say "here I am?"

OK, so that's a major over analysis of the situation but Just Do It says something. Hear I Am? That's like throwing your hands up and saying WTF, do whatever you want to me. I'm here for you. I exist. Take me.

Dear Nike, stop screwing around with a good thing. Just Do It works. Tell all those agency types over at Wieden + Kennedy who want to make a name for themselves by messing around with your tagline to shut up and concentrate on your brand, not their own personal brand.

On the new tagline, The New York Times writes, "The company also wanted a slogan that wouldn't sound odd alongside "Just do it." So nobody thought the combination "Hear I am. Just do it" might be interpreted as a bit odd?

Twisting things into what could be interpreted as sexist, Wieden + Kennedy Creative Director Mark Bernath noted the new tagline promotes exercise without being too aggressive and said, "We want to make sure normal women can relate to it." Wow. Are we to assume women shouldn't be aggressive when they exercise, rather act as if they are docile, cute little things who offer up their submissive, "Here I Am" selves to men who can cuddle them after they finish their manly, aggressive "Just Do It" version of exercise?

Oops. I sound like feminist. I need to stop now.

All of that said, the actual commercial(s) is kinda cool.

by Steve Hall    Sep-11-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Bad, Brands, Creative Commentary, Opinion   

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There's only one phrase I think of when I hear, "hear I am." And that phrase involves rocking and hurricanes.

Posted by: Jessie Birks on September 11, 2008 1:55 PM

I think they're going for the unabashed attitude, e.g., Reebok's (Popeye's) "I am what I am" (I yam what I yam). I think everyone's over-thinking it.

Posted by: Blurt on September 11, 2008 1:56 PM

If Nike is looking for a new tagline that can go along with "just do it" then "here I am" will not work. It definitely plays along with the sexual connotations. And the fact that it is targeted toward women makes it all the worse. Thanks for bringin out your inner feminist:D

Posted by: Alison on September 11, 2008 2:58 PM

How about Run Dude...

Posted by: Todd on September 11, 2008 4:27 PM

who cares...people are just trying to find out way to be the new-discriminated sex, race, or group.

Go Nike. Over sensitive idiots...get over yourself.

Posted by: the cat magnet on September 11, 2008 11:30 PM

who cares...people are just trying to find out way to be the new-discriminated sex, race, or group.

Go Nike. Over sensitive idiots...get over yourselves.

Posted by: the cat magnet on September 11, 2008 11:30 PM

I don't think the problem is the line itself -- I initially took it to mean "I'm here on my own terms, I'm taking my space" empowerment thing, but there's something about the art direction (maybe it's just that the women aren't actually doing much except standing there passively without much on) that means certain commentators -- ahem -- take it as meaning "I'm available" or "Take me".

Which could also be interpreted as wishful thinking rather than over-thinking. Heh.

Posted by: Percolator on September 12, 2008 9:53 AM

"Here I am" is a conditional statement, and seen through a male's eyes, might reflect how they view women. To a woman who feels empowered, confident in who she is (not who the media wants to be,: the statement may sound more like "I am woman, hear me roar," albeit a little subtler. :-)

It should not be used in conjunction with the "Just Do It" tagline, and I don't think it's meant to. Nike's doing the right thing in testing this. And they're doing the right thing by trying to appeal to women separately, rather than with the current predominantly youth- and male-oriented tagline.

Posted by: Jonathan Boehman on September 12, 2008 12:37 PM