If this were a blog about good ads, we'd probably need a separate section just for Nike. I don't know of another brand that continually produces such watchable advertising. And aside from "the most famous brand in world", there's really no other company that can represent itself with so little effort -- in this case, with just a casual, curvaceous graphic.
This spot from '04 is probably my favorite of Nike's oeuvre:
Arresting visuals, dramatic cinematography, a moving soundtrack (created by agency Wieden+Kennedy for the commercial), heartwarming images of triumph (when he's passing the sick children.) The 30-second version may have lost a bit of the original's luster, but it still had the main scenes and the music. How can you not love the shots at the end where the camera is a block away from Lance and the other bikers, following the action in breaks between buildings?
And the very end?
Just do it. (Swoosh)
When you spend decades buying ad space and use the same slogan and same logo, over and over, this is your reward -- paying off a commercial with a three-word sentence and a little half-moon drawing.
The spot, directed by Jake Scott (son of Ridley Scott), was much lauded during its time, and particularly beloved by sportswriters. I won't bother mentioning the accolades here, but just Google "Nike Magnet Commercial," and you'll see what I'm talking about. How many shoes did it sell? Is that even the point of this commercial? Nike, like Coke, needs to keep up awareness and maintain a positive brand image in the consumer's mind. So the next time they're at the shoe store, they'll see Nike shoes and think they're looking at a good product.
This commercial entertains, inspires, and generally makes you feel good. When you see it's Nike, you might even think "Maybe they actually care." They don't, but we can pretend!
For an amusing, and thorough, compilation of some of Nike's best work, go here.