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Nike’s CMO On Envisioning The Best Day Ever of Sport

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What if Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce clocks the 100 meters in under 10 seconds. What if LeBron James scores 120 points in one game, Diede de Groot gets her own video game and sport is declared a human right globally. And what if a person somewhere in the world goes out on their very first run.

These are all scenes from Nike’s latest film, “Best Day Ever” — the next chapter of the Play New campaign — which imagines an unlimited world of what sport can be.

While some moments in the spot are purposely whimsical, the key is that it doesn’t just represent some far-off utopian tomorrow. It speaks to the notion that we can create a better future, for all athletes, through the joy of movement and play.

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Here, DJ van Hameren, NIKE, Inc.’s Chief Marketing Officer, breaks down the intent behind the spot, and explains why bridging the space between inspiration and action is the real secret to experiencing your own best day of sport.

The Purpose Behind Imagining a “Best Day Ever”

We believe sport has the power to inspire, create community and provide a platform for positive change. We want to make people feel the emotion of sport and the potential it has, and we want to help people do sport on their terms.

In the film, we show athletes achieving success — but for us, a successful result is also about what comes before, the invitation to pursue something you’re curious about, something that you just want to learn.

That’s how I’ve always thought about the role of sport in life — it can be an amazing driver of progress, for individuals as well as within communities and society at large.

If someone asks what my best day ever of sport is, I’ll say, “It’s tomorrow.”

Moving From Aspirational to Attainable

We want to give people a toolbox to not just be inspired, but to move from inspiration to activity, whether that’s through the product we design, the communities we try to build and serve or the experiences we create.

We do this based on what we believe in, the values that we stand for, the innovations that we can imagine. And, in everything we do, we always listen to the voice of the athlete*.

We listen to what they want to do — how they want to incorporate sport, movement and play in their lives — and we try to deliver that to them every day.
*If you have a body, you are an athlete.

The (Lifelong) Possibilities Sport Offers

I think of sport as a form of education. You’ll learn how to win, how to lose. But you’ll also learn how to connect. You’ll learn about yourself. You’ll learn what excites you, what interests you — and you’ll do it through multiple stages in life.

It may not start with, “I’m going to grow as a person because I’m doing this sport,” but one day you’ll inevitably look back at that experience, and see how you developed through the lessons you learned and the people you connected with. I know that’s true for me.

The Secret to Experiencing Your Best Day

You have to start something to achieve something. It’s that first intent — the first step, the first throw, the first move, the first stretch. And it’s okay to not be good. But if you don’t start, you will never find out if you can actually become successful at it, or even if you just enjoy it.

What can happen after the first step is the moment you know you’ve fallen in love with something. That’s a “best” moment. For me, that happened first with speed skating. When I realized I loved that sport, that was one of the most amazing moments of my life.

And then, by staying curious and trying new things, I fell in love with another sport — cycling. A fun hobby turned into my passion, which then turned into my job. I got to be a professional track cyclist for a while, all because of that first step of trying it.

So, looking forward, in my mind, the true Best Day Ever is always yet to come. It’s up to us to keep making them. That’s why, if someone asks what my best day ever of sport is, I’ll say, “It’s tomorrow.”

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