Last week, Nike released a clip showing a fat kid running down the street which was meant to represent that “greatness is for all of us.” The clip immediately went viral, earning 60,000 views on the day it was posted. Some even went so far as to call the spot the best that Nike's ever released. Below is the clip they're referring to:
However, despite the clip's viral status, many were quick to point out that clip really didn't show anything inspiring other than a fat kid sweating bullocks while trampling down the street. Rebecca Cullers of AdWeek did a little investigating on the kid's background, and here's what she found:
At 5-foot-3 and 200 pounds, the London, Ohio, native is, well, fat. In the spot, directed by Lance Acord of Park Pictures, Nathan is shown running toward the camera down a country road at dawn-an arresting and unsettling image of physical struggle and, according to Nike, everyday greatness. Nathan is not identified by name in the spot, and so plenty of people have wondered who he is. Well, a local Ohio paper tracked him down for an interview. It turns out Nathan is not actually an early-dawn runner. In fact, he threw up in a ditch during the shoot. In an editorial, the paper heralds Nathan as an inspiration, though it seems he was the one most inspired by the shoot. Nathan and his mother Monica have vowed to help each other lose weight through good old-fashioned diet and exercise.
So the kid likes to jog, nothing wrong with that right? But if you actually read the above excerpt, you'd realize that Nike purposely went looking for a fat kid before forcing him to jog for our entertainment on the basis that it's supposed to "inspire" us to get off our arses. But how many of you actually went out for a jog after watching this clip?
Lindy West of Jezebel has even more points on why this clip is anything BUT inspirational:
This ad is not true. It's not realistic, and you know it's not realistic because it's not real. That kid didn't just get up and run. Just getting up and running is not the solution to fat people's "problems," because all fat people cannot just get up and run. There's a physical learning curve that's incredibly limiting. But you couldn't have a commercial in which that kid starts with mild, low-impact exercise, increasing his activity slowly but surely, plateauing, crying, complaining, and eventually—hopefully—succeeding. That's way more than you could show in a commercial. That wouldn't work. What works is "fat = lazy."
So there you have it, the ad is a lie. How's that for inspirational?