The brand famously known for its campaign encouraging you to get out there and “Just Do It” is flipping the switch and urging people “Don’t Do It” in new messaging focused on race.Friday evening, Nike posted a text-only video on its social media accounts with messaging encouraging people to “For once, Don’t Do It,” a play on the brand’s iconic slogan that’s recognized around the world. The message reads: “For once, Don’t Do It. Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America. Don’t turn your back on racism. Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us. Don’t make any more excuses. Don’t think this doesn’t affect you. Don’t sit back and be silent. Don’t think you can’t be part of the change. Let’s all be part of the change.”
Nike’s message comes four days after George Floyd, 46, died in police custody in Minnesota with his last moments caught on video. While being arrested, Floyd was held down by a Minneapolis police officer’s knee. The video shows Floyd pleading that he is in pain and can’t breathe. Then, his eyes shut and the pleas stop. He was pronounced dead shortly after. The officer was arrested Friday and charged with murder.
This isn’t the first time Nike has used their slogan for more than just sports. “Nike has a long history of standing against bigotry, hatred and inequality in all forms,” Nike said in a statement to Nigeriaserve. “We hope that by sharing this film we can serve as a catalyst to inspire action against a deep issue in our society and encourage people to help shape a better future.”To mark the “Just Do It” slogan’s 30th anniversary in 2018, Nike released an ad with Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who kneeled in protest during the National Anthem for a preseason NFL game. In this ad, Nike weighed in on protests during the National Anthem over racial injustice in the NFL, and the ad was preceded by Nike’s “Equality” campaign. Launched in 2017, that campaign focused on how sports can break down barriers.
Meanwhile Adidas has expressed support with Nike.
In a rare sight of solidarity, competitor brand Adidas retweeted Nike’s video, with a message stating: “Together is how we move forward. Together is how we make a change.”
“Don’t turn your back on racism. Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us. Don’t make any more excuses. Don’t think this doesn’t affect you,” reads the video, in which white words appear across a black background.
This isn’t the first time that Nike, whose ‘Just do it’ slogan is known worldwide, has waded into social justice issues of the US. In September 2018, Nike made headlines when it released an advertising campaign against racism. The ad featured US football player and activist Colin Kaepernick, who is criticized for kneeling during the US national anthem at games.
Superstar Serena Williams has also added her support by posting on her twitter timeline: