20 Feb Critique: Nike Empowers Muslim Women
“What will they say about you? Maybe they’ll say you showed them what’s possible.”
A social media video campaign by Nike that features Muslim and Arab women breaking stereotypes. In the video, women get odd looks from people whilst skateboarding, running and doing other sport activities. It shows that women are careless about what people think about them, in fact, it drives them forward.
إيش حيقولوا عنك؟
يمكن يقولوا إنك تخطيتي كل التوقعات.
— Nike Middle East (@NikeMiddleEast) February 18, 2017
The campaign gets down to bottom of actual problems Muslim women face all over the world, especially in the Middle East. In many parts of the Middle East, culture and religion are so intertwined that many people aren’t able to distinguish between them. This is an issue that affects everyone, but in particular women. Many are restricted from doing what they love due to what people might think of them. This campaign extracts this thought beautifully: “What will they say about you?” then surprisingly it follows with “Maybe they’ll say you showed them what’s possible.”
Cultures are usually progressive, but as they are linked directly with religion (which is viewed as timeless) the change is very slow. Luckily millennials are changing this phenomena completely: not only are they reshaping cultures, but bring a new school of thought that being modern and having strong faith go hand-in-hand.
THE GOOD (GREAT):
Where to start! This is everything I thought about in a campaign that empowers Muslim women. Nike did it first, and this will stick in all of our minds forever. We always tell our clients that a story is the most important thing, and some reply with: but will I see a boost in sales immediately? Many clients fail to see the value of brand awareness and loyalty, and think on a short-term basis. Women who feel oppressed by society are not only going to buy sport clothes from Nike, but have an emotional connection with it. The production value is great as well, which makes the campaign viral-ready.
Not much really, perhaps the voice-over is not as fitting and powerful as the imagery. Most imagery looks like it’s from Egypt, yet there is a GCC dialect (Saudi, I think). For this campaign to be even more appealing to the entire MENA region, the story could be narrated in “Fusha” Modern Standard Arabic and by an untypical girly voice. On a personal note, I wish Nike could promote localised ethical production.
CONCLUSION: Nike Empowers Muslim Women
This is how brands should think about the millennial Muslim women. They want to be empowered and be part of the revolution. Nike understands positioning like no other brand. By being the first to empower young Muslim women in sports, they will earn new loyal customers. Period.