Nike's "Make It Count" Ads: Do We Love It? - A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss

Nike’s “Make It Count” Ads: Do We Love It?

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I happened to see these a few days ago, advertising for the new Nike FuelBand, and couldn’t help but wonder what we thought of ‘em:

Yeah, that’s me in my gym attire in the reflection. Don’t hate on my style.

(The 4/5/6 is a train line out here… I’ve ran to it a few times and have even been known to be shut IN the doors of the train a time or two.)

I like these, but… I don’t know. I mean, I love incorporating unconventional fitness (read: the hood workout… pull-ups from the light post? Absolutely.) into marketing, and reminding people that it “counts.” I also love seeing persons of color – both men and women – doing the hard work, because we all know how strongly those images resonate with us. (If you know where these are posted in the city, you know they couldn’t have gotten away withnot incorporating persons of color.) And, really, reminding us that it’s not always about the 20minute-2 hour block we set aside for working out that “counts” is always a win for me. There’s just… something about these that prevents me from embracing them fully.

Also: Shoutout to my reflection in a few of these flicks. I don’t want to hear anybody’s mouth about my workout clothes!

What do you think? Are you inspired? Do you love it?

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes health, fitness, nutrition, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She now lives in New York with her family, and is working on her 4th, 5th and 6th certificates.

15 Comments

  1. Michalet Clark

    November 5, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    I love how much money corporations save by having regular folks write their slogans and starring in their ads.(snark) I love the diversity more though.
    Side note: I love the colors you choose for your workout gear E.

  2. Olivia

    November 5, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    I actually really like these ads. They are motivating and remind people to exercise and suggest possible ways to “sneak” in exercise. Seeing all those fit people in the ads remind me that I want to get to that point and I will have to work hard to do so. What exactly about the ads do you not like?

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      November 5, 2012 at 4:53 PM

      There’s a faint contrast between the ads that are predominately persons of color, and the ones that aren’t. It’s just… “realistic” or not, it rubs me the wrong way.

  3. Kami

    November 5, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    I often see alot of people in Brooklyn doing the hood workouts especially this guy downtown Brooklyn who looks like a training doing his thing. I do enjoy people watching people swim in the receation center and jog in the park. This commercial inspires me to learn how to jump rope and doble dutch as a workout. I need to buy a pedometer to see how many calories i burn.

  4. Sylvia

    November 5, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    I think these are great. Now I’m motivated and happy about running around to do things. Makes me want to move faster every time I need to get from point A to point B. I don’t know about doing pull ups at the cross walk though, sounds like a good way to get the police called on you.

  5. sundaze

    November 5, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    As a native NYer living in the south, I LOVE them!! This is something I’ve discussed with everyone I know who grew up but no longer lives in a walking town. I’ll never be as fit as I once was, not because I’m older or don’t work at it now, but because back then, no matter how hard the work out, it was topped with walking an additional mile or so every day to and from various places instead of outside to the parking lot. It all counts, and I definitely didn’t appreciate it until it was too late.

  6. CoCo

    November 5, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    I don’t know. I feel motivated by the very first ad (the woman with the awesome calves), but as soon as I saw the guy doing pull ups from the walk sign, I was over it. For some reason, that made me think of guys in prison working out.

    Gotta love the diversity though!

    c.

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      November 6, 2012 at 11:34 AM

      Bingo. Compare that to who’s in the ads with the fancy hardwood floor studios.

      Like, yay, I’m glad Nike is doing this… but keep working on it. I have faith they’ll get there eventually.

  7. DrNay

    November 5, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Thanks for sharing these! As a Brooklyn transplant in Baltimore, I hadn’t seen them. They are interesting. To me, they are more motivating than the Strive to Eat 5 ads and bland exercise more ads I have seen. Of course, these are spinsored by a corporation looking to sell more products as opposed to the ones I see which are PSAs from small government agencies or nonprofits with limited budgets. I wish corporations like Nike would see the benefit in providing this type of social marketing in smaller markets.

  8. Alicia

    November 5, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    I love the ads I’m also from NYC and I have the Nike fuelband and I love that too.

  9. Streetz

    November 10, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    I see what you’re getting at by the slight depiction an juxtaposition issues, but I don’t think it’s that crazy. If you’ve seen the barbarians and other crews who do the insane pullups anywhere in the city.. you know this is pretty accurate. I’ve been known in my youth to do a random pullup in a city location, its damn near a right of passage lol…

    Being from NYC, this is stuff you would see, which does make it real. Maybe if it was a white dude doing the pullup it would “come off” different? I don’t know. Knowing a lot of people behind Nike marketing, I dont think there’s any ulterior motive behind it. I think as black we are hyperaware of imagery (and always should be).

    Way to make us think, E, and kudos to Nike!

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      November 10, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      This isn’t exclusive to NYC. You can go to any major city in the country and see that. My partner will do a chin-up if he’s stuck near a scaffolding for too long.

      No one said anything about ulterior motive, and I certainly don’t know how I feel about being told I’m “hyperaware,” as if that’s a problem. I write about fitness – everything from the minutia to the giant glaring pop culture holes to the basics. That’s what I do.

      I don’t expect a marketing campaign to capture the fullness or the entirety of Blacks in fitness, but that doesn’t preclude me from making the observation I did.

  10. Angelica

    November 10, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Maybe it’s the lack of Black people dressed in business attire running to catch the train… Or riding a bike to college and making that count. Just makes blacks look like all they’re good at is physical activity. Doesn’t look like financial success or intelligence to me.

  11. Christine

    March 4, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    I guess my take is..you can’t get to the gym..make your own

  12. Lisa

    June 24, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    I love these! I don’t see a problem with it. Finally, people of color in advertising who are not singing about greasy fast food or catching white women falling out of the sky (that actually happened). These ads are eye catching, and to me, refreshingly relatable. They make exercise look like fun- I don’t know about you but seeing professional athletes in beast mode is not the most motivating image for me. Training is a full time job for them and we mere mortals aren’t going to get to the level of Lebron James & Serena Williams through recreational exercise. Whereas “First one to the top counts” reminds me of being a kid, when you raced everywhere and exercise was just called playing. It’s a reminder that working out doesn’t have to be considered work.

    Second, sure it’s a little rugged/urban but how many of us really do Crossfit or Piloxing at a fancy gym studio? I work out at home or in the fitness center at my apartment complex, where I see other black & brown folks in sweats, hoodies & jogging pants rather than head to toe name brand fitness gear. The people in these ads look like the people that I know. I think it says a lot about our mental conditioning by society that a black guy doing pull-ups automatically puts some of us in mind of a prisoner.

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