Empowering Women to Buy: Nike
“They asked us to build a community of strong and healthy women,” and that is exactly what Widen & Kennedy Advertising did for the corporate giant Nike. Nike, a leading world supplier in athletic shoes and clothing, watched patiently through the late 1980s and into the early 1990s as the rate of women athletes steadily rose. Nike, who was known for their “power” advertisements geared towards male athletes, began to see a new potential market emerging. In the 1990s, Nike began an advertising campaign, not to advertise one specific product, but to advertise the benefits of women in sports and to build that image to the public. Nike believed that it was important to encourage female participation, and they hoped their ads would lead to brand recognition: they were right. Since eighty-five percent of brand purchasing is done by women (she-conomy.com), Nike’s first campaign geared towards women was one of the most successful advertising campaigns in history (“Stories of Community: The First Ten Years of Nike Women’s Advertising”). Many believe that the ads empowered young girls and women to become involved in sports. Nike didn’t stop either; although their advertising campaigns have changed, the message they send to women remains the same: women are strong, entitled, and powerful. Nike’s print ads frequently appeared in various athletic magazines such as Sports Illustrated and Track and Field. However, today they can also be found in family magazines such as Family Fun, and in women’s magazines such as First for Women. Obviously, Nike’s advertisements directed to women have been effective. Nike ads speak to women, telling them to be the best they can be, to be strong, and to love themselves. Nike’s “If you let me play” campaign ad pictures a young girl, who seems innocent, with her short brown hair cut, like a tom boy’s. She is sitting on a swing and appears bored. She looks if she would rather be doing something more active;...
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