Maybe its because I'm not a 32 waist, but this new ad from Nike via ad agency Wieden & Kennedy is spot on. Sure, I like Nike ads that glorify athleticism, performance and disciplined bodies too. But most of the people I see shopping in Foot Locker for new tennies have jiggly butts, imperfect thighs and barely defined abs and pecs. Call this ad "reality advertising."
Hollywood and Madison Avenue, while still full of superficial people who don't get it, are increasingly nodding to "real" people. The Dove campaign comes to mind, as do shows like The Practice and Ed, which in recent years featured attractive and compelling plus size actresses. Sure, there are "real" people with pecs and abs working out. I'm not anti pec. But this ad shows a greater spirit of inclusiveness, while maintaining an air of aspiration.
A few years ago I attended a writers conference and asked editors at Esquire and Men's Health why they didn't seem to write stuff or feature editorial that was aimed at men who will never have abs. In other words--me. They just sort of dumbly burbled that "that's just the way it is...skinny and pretty sells." This new Nike ad is a good chapter in a conversation that needs to continue...that a person can be healthy and lead a healthful life without necessarily having abs, pecs or a tiny butt. Heck, I still have about 60-70 pounds I'd like to lose after loising about 150. But my fat, cholesterol, etc are beyond perfect. And I can ride a bike as long as most of my ab-blessed friends.