Top 20 Nike Commercials in the Past Decade

Matt SheehanAnalyst IAugust 17, 2011

Top 20 Nike Commercials in the Past Decade

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    Love them or hate them, Nike always comes through when it comes to producing solid commercials. Whether its giving an inside look at a sport, providing entertainment or even paying tribute to the fans, Nike puts on a show with their ads.Some will make you laugh, others will motivate you to lace up and go workout and a few will even give you goosebumps.

    In this countdown, we take a look at the top Nike ads in the past ten years and find out which ones crack the top twenty and deserved to be named best of the best. Enjoy.

Dishonorable Mention: Earl Woods Speaking to His Son

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    I'm sorry we have to start the slideshow on such an awful note, but we need to see that Nike isn't entirely flawless in their ad campaigns.

    This was filmed in the pinnacle of the infamous Tiger Woods scandal, and quite frankly I think it's tasteless. They use the voice of his deceased father, Earl, to ask him questions about his judgement.

    I'm all for deep and meaningful commercials and videos, but this was just uncalled for and really has nothing to do with golf. Don't worry Nike, these next twenty make up for this one.

20. Earl Woods Speaking About His Son

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    Nike got it right the first time around with this father-son relationship look-in.

    Earl Woods covers his famous training regiment of dropping bags in Tiger's back swing as a kid to enhance the young golfer's focus, and also touched on the friendly rivalry the two had.

    Not only does Earl speak of the golfing aspect, but he also preaches the way parents should deal with youth sports: "You don't really instill anything into a child, you encourage the development of it."

    Well done, Earl, well done.

19. What If?

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    What if?

    What if Randy Johnson decided to roll for strikes rather than throw for them?

    What if Andre Agassi was trying to twist double plays instead of avoiding double faults?

    What if Lance Armstrong wore the belt instead of the yellow shirt?

    What if Michael Vick and Brian Urlacher paired up on the ice and not just in the NFL Pro Bowl?

    What if Marion Jones ran towards the vault instead of the finish line?

    What if Serena used her hands to kill the ball instead of her racket?

    What if Nike never made this ad and we never had the chance to think 'what if?'

18. The Streaker

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    Arguably the most humorous commercial from a shoe company, this sightly scene depicts a streaker beating security guards with his feet. How did he make it for over a minute without getting snagged by security?

    Nike Shox apparently.

17. Ken Griffey Jr. Tribute

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    Nike used this thirty second ad to pay tribute to a long-time partner and baseball legend, Ken Griffey Jr. Griffey was notorious for his mind-boggling outfield play, and hitting the ball out of the yard, which he did 630 times to be exact.

    In the commercial, the viewer sees just a glimpse of how many times Griffey pulverized the ball and wishes him well on his way to Cooperstown.

    This simple ad was a classy way to reminisce about one of the greatest players of all time.

16. How I Fight

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    This wonderful ad shows that fighting doesn't always have to take place on a battle ground, it can take place on the playing grounds too.

    No matter what sport you play, whether it's a team or individual contest, you always have to fight to come out on top, and the most important weapon you have is yourself.

15. The Human Chain

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    Repetition, adversity and failure. Those three words are crucial to athletic greatness, and in this ad Nike displays the words in a very creative and innovative way.

    It could be just a young child learning martial arts, or it might be Deron Williams driving in the lane, but no matter what level you are on, everybody needs repetition, experience and failure.

14. Defy Air

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    One of Nike's most popular shoe lines is the Nike Air series, and in this commercial all you see are athletes floating around, defying gravity.

    For a brand that loves giving athletes an edge, this is a great ad showing how much air athletes of all sports can fly through.

    The camera work and editing that shows no one touch ground until the very end adds a great touch and another great commercial.

13. Welcome to the Family

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    This brilliant ad shows the adversity, determination and the hard work it takes to be a national team member.

    The squad from Canada has played against each other for years, and some even their whole lives in their youth, just like the commercial says. They may be rivals on the ice, but they come together as family and make a run at the gold medal.

    USA fans may not enjoy this 30 second ad, but you can't deny the message it sends in a short amount of time.

12. Leave Nothing

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    If you have ever played sports in your life, odds are you have heard the phrase "leave it all on the field" at least once a season.

    For Sean Merriman and Steven Jackson, leaving it all on the field is a weekly job, and this commercial shows nothing but that. Hitting hard, breaking tackles and out-running opponents all add up to success on the field, but that doesn't come if you don't give it your all.

11. It's Already Inside

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    This commercial truly has it all. The pain of landing face first on the mat. The struggles of being beaten. The joy of winning that medal. The pride of cultures around the world. The determination of a cancer riddled Lance Armstrong. The strength of a legless sprinter making a dash towards the finish line.

    What a great ad to lead into our top ten.

10. Red Sox World Series

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    In one of the few commercials in the world that focuses on the fan, Nike choose themselves a great fanbase to dedicate TV time to. If there were any Red Sox fan that were to shed a tear over this commercial, I wouldn't be surprised due to how well done this ad is and how long passionate fans patiently waited.

     

    Yankee fans may not like it, but I think they will be fine with their 27 rings and zero commercials.

9. Take It to the Next Level

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    In just three minutes, Nike takes us through everything typical soccer (or football if you're on the other side of the pond) player goes through on his way to the top.

    Starting out with a big break with a small club, the player then goes through Arsenal with his share of ups and downs. In the first person look, the player gets pushed around by the big guns and blows defensive coverages, and it all goes back to the practice field for the player to make his way back to the top.

    The top of this player's game is making it all the way to the Netherlands national team, but before he stops there we are also given a look at the rock star lifestyles these players live.

8. Force Fate

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    Destiny is a great thing if you're the underdog. The only problem is, the underdog loses a heck of a lot more than he wins, because the only thing greater than destiny is hard work.

    Practice makes perfect, and perfect makes the odds of a win much higher, so why rely on destiny? Wouldn't you rather want to work your way to the top other than just hope its given to you?

    Nike thinks so.

7. Whatever It Takes

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    If you are a fan, a professional or the casual athlete, odds are you have your share of superstitions. Some more than others, but the rituals in this commercial show some of the classics, like watching a game in your lucky attire. There is also the unusual, like cleaning the toilet before your round of golf. But if it works, why should anyone stop you?

     

    Just like Lefty Gomez said, "I would rather be lucky than good."

6. Top That

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    What would sports be without the challenge? Boring, of course.

    Athletes all over the world challenge one another, all the way from break dancers to marathon runners. The entire sporting world is a contest. Who can hit harder, who can go faster, and who can "wow" others more? Until sports stop altogether, these answers will always top one another.

5. I Promise

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    If you played football back in your heyday, this one minute is guaranteed to give you chills.

    Even though it never shows anyone tossing the pigskin or hitting someone into next week, the video shows and tells us what high school football is all about.

    The summer practices, the team unity and the city embracing you all come together on Friday nights to put on a show on the gridiron. Just watching this commercial makes me want to go back to those days, and I doubt I'm the only one.

4. Nike Air's Secret

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    Ever wonder why Nike seems to outperform the other shoe brands?

    Here is your answer.

3. No Excuses

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    I have heard, and said, so many excuses in my life that I can't even come close to counting.

    Matt Scott of the Wheelchair Basketball League puts things in a little bit of perspective in this commercial, where he packs in the most popular and lame excuses.

    By the end of the commercial, I was sorry I ever made any excuses, because there really are none to make after listening to Matt Scott.

2. Write the Future

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    The World Cup is a huge worldwide event, there is no questioning that, but some people don't know how big it really is.

    The World Cup can either make or break a player's career, and even though you probably won't see Wayne Rooney chalk any pitches in the future, it still sends its message.

    The pressure that these players carry for their country can end in either shame or immortality for the rest of their days.

    So what do you want to do, be a goat or a legend? You have to write your own future.

1. Inspiration

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    Words aren't enough to describe this video. A lights-out pep talk combined with the pictures of agony, defeat, triumph and fulfillment makes this the best commercial not only from Nike, but from any company in my opinion.

    Commercials aren't supposed to motivate anyone or move people, but I guess Nike never got that message.