Nike on Sunday unveiled a star-studded campaign called “Equality” that will make its TV debut during the Grammy Awards broadcast on CBS.
The black-and-white 90-second ad by Wieden & Kennedy stars LeBron James, Serena Williams, Kevin Durant, Megan Rapinoe, Dalilah Muhammad and Gabby Douglas. Actor Michael B. Jordan provides the voiceover. The soundtrack is Alicia Keys signing Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.” The director is Melina Matsoukas, whose credits include Beyonce’s “Formation” video, which is a Grammy nominee in the best music video category.
The campaign — which comes during Black History Month — “encourages people to take the fairness and respect they see in sport and translate them off the field,” according to Nike. The marketer plans to air the ad again next weekend during coverage of the NBA All-Star game, according to a spokesman.
Print ads ran on Sunday in the New York Times, L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune and Portland Oregonian. A version that ran in the Tribune’s sports section covered two full pages and included the campaign manifesto. It declares, among other things, that “the bond between players should exist between people” and “the ball should bounce the same for everyone.” Nike is asking fans to support the campaign by creating their own “Equality” avatars and social media filters.
The campaign follows partnerships Nike announced last month on Martin Luther King Day with two community organizations: PeacePlayers International, which uses “sport as a tool to bridge divides”; and Mentor:The National Mentoring Partnership, a program that connects volunteers to local communities.
On its website, Nike is promoting a black-and-white “Equality” t-shirt, as well as shoes from its annual Black History Month collection.