You probably can’t remember the first Nike ad because, and I’m just guessing here, I highly doubt you’re old enough to recall it. We’re talking 1982 and we’re talking about a commercial that honored runners everywhere. Not a product. Not a shoe. Just technology and the mindset that made it possible. It was the Swoosh’s way of promising better things ahead.
While looking back on it now shows how boring and ridiculous it was, it also provided somewhat of a blueprint for later years. It provided an idea, the thought that you’d NEED THESE SHOES if you really wanted to be “cool” or really wanted to achieve something. Over the course of the last 33 years, that hasn’t changed or wavered. Sure, you’d eventually see commercials with players as superheroes, with players and their mini-me, with players and movie characters, but even if the story was presented in a different way, the core values remained the same. They probably always will, too.
Today, with more people interested in sneakers than ever before, the game has changed and nowhere is that more apparent than in the ads that follow the shoes. I grew up on Lil Penny and some of the greatest Michael Jordan commercials ever made. I can look back on the Kobe Bryant/Hyperdunk/Aston Martin craze and smile, just as the younger generation of today gets hyped up off of Nike’s classics ads depicting LeBron James or adidas‘ amazing interpretation of Derrick Rose‘s journey.
The hype has never been stronger and part of that is because the ads have been so strong for a very, very long time. This is Schooled: The Evolution of the Basketball Sneaker Commercial.
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image via Nike