An advert has generated a spirit I haven’t felt since the 2012 Olympics; one of genuine pride and excitement to be a Londoner. And I’m not even its target audience!

Nike wanted to reconnect with young Londoners to demonstrate that the American superbrand really ‘gets’ them and is aligned with their values. To achieve this, it created a three-minute film that tells the stories of everyday young Londoners aspiring to be athletes. There’s an obligatory smattering of famous sporting and musical cameos thrown in – but they are not the stars of this show.

Judging by the overall positive response on social media and the 2.8m views on You Tube since its launch six days ago, it’s clearly hitting the mark.

So why does it work? A myriad of reasons no doubt. I can’t speak for Gen Z but here’s what jumps out at me:

  • Celebration
    The focus is on young Londoners themselves, not on the Nike brand. The film not only showcases a diverse group in terms of ethnicity, but also in terms of the broad variety of sports covered and, importantly, who we see playing them (think gender neutrality). Nike is celebrating the diversity and individuality of London’s Gen Z through their athletic pursuits.

  • Authenticity
    They’ve done a really good job of making it feel authentic; something we know Gen Z expects and demands of brands these days. The true-to-life locations (i.e. the streets of Peckham), the grainy texture of the shots (by using 16mm film) and the use of 258 real young Londoners all help to capture a genuine depiction of London youth culture as we know it.
  • Energy
    The pace of the film creates a momentum akin to the nervous energy you feel at the start of a match or when you’re about to perform; that sense of potential achievement when you’ve been working so hard to reach your goals. This inspirational energy is powerful and no doubt speaks to the aspirational and can-do attitude of London’s youth.

Nicely done, Nike.