"Oi you, sit down. Shut up... and listen 'ere! You need to get a few things in your head if you're going to make it in this game... alright?"
Nike’s latest ad is a part of its ‘Play New’ campaign and features a talking football. The football is old, tattered and dirty – perhaps, a testament of the time it has spent on the field at the feet of various footballers. Throughout the ad, we see the football speaking in a British accent, calling for players to embrace their ‘nasty streak’ and be ‘vicious and angry’.
The football's nonsense speech is cut off halfway when Marcus Rushford (a footballer for Manchester United club and England) kicks him abruptly off the screen. The action is symbolic of Nike wanting to address and put an end to toxic masculinity, which is so often seen on the football field.
The second instalment of Nike's ‘Play New’ campaign takes on toxic masculinity in a way that P&G's Gillette did with its ads. Released in 2019, the ads addressed the ongoing #MeToo movement and asked if this was 'the best a man could be' - a play on the tagline, 'the best a man can get'.
Earlier this month, Nike released the first instalment of the ‘Play New’ campaign. The ad featured people attempting to play sport and failing rather spectacularly at it. The ad acknowledges that not everyone can be gifted athletes, but stresses that it is the effort that counts.