“I hate my butt, my hips, my thighs, my legs, my shoulders, my knees. My butt is too big, my thighs are too fat, my legs are too long, my shoulders are too broad, my hips are too wide, and my knees are too bruised. I hate my body.” Millions of young women have problems with self-body image. Nearly every person in the world sees flaws in his or her own body, but it’s the self-hate that can bring someone down. Instead of seeing the beauty in the differences of one’s figure, a good percentage of the population turns to hating his or her own body and communicating that through emotional and physical harm. It is a common occurrence among the athletic portion of the world, especially the female athletes to self-hate on the body that she has created for herself. In a world driven by the media’s perception of beauty, where the only accepted beauty comes in the form of a size 00 model, Nike comes through and shows young athletes it is okay for a woman to work hard and build muscle. Nike for Women’s message in the ad campaign is to show young athletes and women that any strong body is a perfect body.
Ad campaigns come in many forms. Some companies choose to run a campaign with a series of the same athlete selling one specific product, while others choose to do one ad per product. Nike tries to connect with the “average” person through using non-famous figures. In the case of the Nike for Women campaign, Nike uses large standout images of women’s body parts, which are often problem areas for women, as the main focal point of each ad in the series. The primary focus of the ad is to portray to athletes that athletics do not make one ugly, bruises and muscle tone are a sign of hard work. A few of the ads reinforce the idea that it is important to be proud of the body you have, there are body parts people can’t change including the size of one’s hips and the length of one’s legs. It is important to just be proud and love the body you have been given. No two bodies are ever going to be exactly the same and Nike tries to encourage all women to love her own personalized body.
The company attempts to attack the viewer’s self-esteem by targeting the major problem body parts of a woman’s figure. This is an attempt to create the idea amongst the target audience, women, that females who wear Nike have a better self-image. The ad campaign appeared in several publications including Seventeen, a magazine geared toward young girls typically between the ages of 13 and 19. Seventeen has a current campaign which aims to create a positive self-body image amongst its readers. Nike’s campaign was able to appear side-by-side with Seventeen’s “Body Peace Project”.
Nike has established credibility through its own long-term customer base. Nike for Women is a more recently added product line. The idea created by the corporation was revolutionary. At the time it first appeared on the market it was one of a kind, the very first line designed with just women in mind. In athletics, women typically come second to men, and Nike creates the relationship that women are just as good as men and are not second-best in athletic training. The products designed for the new line are created with a women’s body in mind and allow for more comfort and form appeal. The alterations made to the previous models of clothes include: more padding in the soles of the shoes, wider sneakers, or stronger sports bras. The popular enterprise designs with specific needs in mind and always put the customer first. The company does not only create one size and expect its customers to fit only one mold. Nike understands that women come in all different shapes and sizes and the company believes that any size is beautiful.
The campaign is not only addressing the main issue of improving self-body image amongst women in general; it also focuses on the smaller issue such as the fact that athletes are going to be bigger than the typical “thin” person due to the element that he or she works out and creates muscle mass on his or her body. This idea is common throughout the athletic community, mainly the female population, because of the fact that certain clothing brands don’t fit over “fat” thighs, “plump” hips, “broad” shoulders, or “junk in the trunk”. It can be easy for a female to fall into an eating disorder to slim down and lose a few pounds, but Nike shows women that athletic bodies are just as beautiful as a non-athletic figure.
There is an old sexist statement, “women can’t play sports” often causes some women to shy away from being athletic. The physicality of female sports can be intimidating for any man and is often the cause for this sexist statement. The idea that some women can take on a man is threatening to the male. There are several fallacies of emotion that the ad campaign targets including the idea that bruises are ugly and girls who have them are ugly as well or untouchable or unmarryable, as seen in the ad about “My Knees”. Bruises simply show one is tough. Girls need to be happy with their own body; negatively downing something they have created causes more emotional stabilization problems than it is worth. Any girl’s body is beautiful; any girl can play any sport just as well as any boy, and muscle on a girl means that she is tough and focused on a goal.
Body image is a hard topic to cover in print. Creating one visual that appeals to all people in the population is nearly impossible, but Nike makes every attempt to create a campaign to promote positive body image and body respect to women athletes. The images and words combined in the campaign portray the message of self-respect. Athletes are powerful and therefore need a powerful body to support the strong mental attitude. The colors of the ads are pink and purple in an attempt to connect to the female target audience. In the ad focusing on the knees, the words are slanted in the way a knee bends. In the ad concentrating on the shoulders, the words are curved like the back of a female or the curve of a shoulder. The words in the My Butt ad curve and form a backwards C just as a round butt curves. To go along with the placement of the words, the designs of the pictures are meant to represent any woman. The viewer’s eyes are immediately drawn to the bodily feature being defined, in hopes of inspiring the observer. The ads contain no faces or recognizable features of anyone besides the assets that are the center of focus for the ad. For example, in the ad concentrating on the thighs, the model’s shorts are extremely short accentuating the extremely defined muscles in her thighs. The ad for strong legs enhances the strength of a pair of long legs. Everything in the ad is placed with a purpose, from the slant of a word to the colors in the background. Placement means everything. Specific visuals are a key component to any ad campaign and Nike’s My Body campaign is no different. Each ad is specifically designed to create a positive image in the viewer’s mind about that particular body part.
The belief that any shape or size is beautiful is not just an idea sponsored by Nike for Women; it is also sponsored by the entire Nike Company. This can be seen through the Just Do It slogan appearing at the end of each poem on each ad. The slogan “Just Do It” is the main company slogan that appears on nearly every ad campaign sponsored by Nike. Just Do It gives every female the empowerment to go out and do her best everyday no matter what sport, training, job, or day to day activity it is.
The beauty of this ad campaign is that it can run all year long because anyone can train at any given point during the year. Nike has developed products that fit the needs of women training in any weather condition. The beauty of athletic training is one can always cross-train indoors or put a jacket on and run outside; there are always ways to be active. Nike gear allows anyone (with any body type) to be given the opportunity to be an athlete and love the body they have been given.
Negative body image is a huge issue all over the world especially in the United States. Millions of people, a large percentage of which are women, struggle with poor self-image. Nike strives to create a positive image for all women through its My Body campaign, sponsored by Nike for Women. The series shows that having bruises proves one is
tough, sculpted shoulders are not something to hide in large baggy sweatshirts but something to be proud of and show to the world. The connections Nike makes to tug at the emotions of woman are countless the main point is that curves define a woman, no two bodies are going to be the same, but every body is beautiful. Women need to stop self-hating on every flaw they see on their bodies. Hard work deserves praise, not disapproval, especially by one’s self. Through the Nike for Women ad campaign, Nike attempts to create the idea that every figure is beautiful.