JUST SAY IT: Two weeks after Nike chief executive officer Mark Parker criticized President Trump’s executive order restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, Nike launched its Equality initiative with the help of Serena Williams, LeBron James and others.
The sneaker juggernaut ran a four-page ad in Sunday’s New York Times, highlighting the company’s commitment to diversity followed by full-page close-ups of Williams and other Nike-sponsored athletes. The anchor of the Equality initiative is a short film that features the aforementioned athletes as well as the actor Michael B. Jordan and Alicia Keys. The aim is to inspire people to take action in their communities, according to Nike press materials released Sunday. The 9o-second spot will air during the Grammys and next weekend’s NBA All-Star Game.
There is now a designated Equality component to Nike’s web site, and it is all over the brand’s social media channels. Visitors found there such proclamations as “Nike has a long history of speaking up for causes that reflect its values. That continues today with the launch of EQUALITY, in which Nike encourages people to take the fairness and respect they see in sport and translate them off the field.”
Set against Keys singing Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” Jordan declares, “Opportunity should not discriminate,” and “Worth should outshine color,” among other things. The Melina Matsoukas-directed, 90-second spot features Kevin Durant, Megan Rapinoe, Dalilah Muhammad, Gabby Douglas and Victor Cruz, in addition to Williams and James.
Building on its recent partnerships with Mentor and PeacePlayers International, Nike will donate $5 million this year to organizations that advance equality in U.S. communities including Mentor and PeacePlayers.
Equality T-shirts, and shoes from Nike’s annual Black History Month collection are being sold via Nike’s web site and select retail stores. Nike-sponsored players are expected to wear some of the styles during the upcoming NBA All-Star weekend in New Orleans. Nike is also giving supporters the chance to create their own Equality avatar or social media filters.