Nike has taken its iconic tagline and campaign “Just Do It” to Germany for the first time. For its debut in Germany, the sports brand launched a David Bowie-inspired spot. Making a David Bowie-inspired spot in Germany was a smart move from Nike seeing as David Bowie has a special relationship with the country. The spot which is called ‘Helden’ (Heroes) tells the inspiring backstories of diverse athletes who are driven to achieve success for their communities. These diverse athletes have defied odds and expectations.
Nike’s “Just Do It’” debut in Germany was created by creative agency Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam. The spot features more than 15 athletes, dancers and coaches who are defining a new era of sports and culture in Germany.
David Bowie and Germany
Nike released a David Bowie-inspired spot for the debut of its famous tagline in Germany. They used his German version of “Heroes,” the only song he recorded in the language to drive the campaign. This was a very smart move by the sports brand seeing as the track carries significant meaning to many Germans. David Bowie wrote “Heroes” in 1977 about two lovers separated by the Berlin Wall, and the version in the spot is one Bowie recorded himself in Germany.
Bowie iconically performed the song at the Reichstag in West Berlin and his performance is an iconic piece of Cold War history. Fans recall being huddled in secret and quietly singing along on the eastern side of the wall. His performance has been credited as one of the cultural tipping points that led to the wall’s collapse, and the German government honoured Bowie after his 2016 death for his role in unifying the nation
Nike’s “Just Do It” Debut in Germany
Even though Nike used David Bowie’s song to drive the spot, they didn’t directly reference the song’s role in Germany’s history. Instead, the brand made a statement about how the country’s refugees and other immigrants have reshaped Germany’s cultural landscape. This shift has created new tensions about what it means to be German. To drive home their point, Nike featured a wide range of athletes from diverse backgrounds. Some of those featured in the spot include:
- Zeina Nassar, she is a boxer and she fought to overturn a rule prohibiting competitors from wearing head wraps such as a hijab.
- Giulia Gwinn, a footballer credited with giving women’s soccer more visibility in Germany.
- Leroy Sané, 23-year-old soccer player currently with the Premier League’s Manchester City.
- Léon Schäfer, track and field athlete and Paralympian
- Mario Götze, who scored the winning goal for Germany in the 2014 World Cup.
- Moe Wagner, German-born basketball player for the Washington Wizards
- Mobina and Melika Nazari, skateboarders whose family fled Afghanistan. When Mobina suffered severe head trauma from a skating accident and lost much of her memory, Melika helped her recover and get back on her board.
- Gesa Krause, Olympic bronze medalist in track and field and 2,000-meter world record holder.
- Ariclenes Garcia, aka LaQuéfa St. Laurent, dancer and Voguer who offers free workshops to queer refugees.
- Yelmaz Habash, Tarek Almoukee, Nazir Jaser and Nabil Allahham, cyclists and refugees.
- Alex Hipwell, coach and master trainer.
At the athletes come together with the spot’s closing line ‘Du tust es nie nur für dich’ which means “You never just do it for yourself.”
Nike Speaks on the Ad
Sebastian Niemeyer, brand and marketing lead for Nike in Germany spoke about the ad. He stated that with ‘Du tust es nie nur für dich’ they are opening a new chapter for the Nike brand in Germany and celebrating sports. Niemeyer talked about how today’s youth sport can have a greater meaning than simply competing and winning. According to him, it’s the power to unite, to inspire and to lead change in their communities that counts. He explained that the brand’s sporting heroes fuel this passion on the pitch or track and in communities to unlock sport for the next generation of athletes. “Sport becomes a catalyst and you never do it just for yourself,” said Niemeyer.
Source: Ad Week