What Are The Most Iconic Nike Ads of All Time?

Nike is an iconic brand not only because of its footwear, the most iconic Nike ads are also some of the most iconic ads in all of advertising history. in the marketing world. Nike has had a long relationship with an advertising agency from Portland and together they have been producing legendary stuff. They have definitely had the most influential and memorable all-time ads.

Now, we understand that if you are a big Nike ad fan, you probably have your list of the best ads of all time, and you may even have got into some arguments with your friends about it. So, since we know that this is a never-ending debate, we shall look at as many ads as possible, hoping that you shall agree with our incredible list.

One thing you should note about the ads below is that they do not necessarily promote one product at a time, which could be the genius behind Nike’s most memorable ads. The messages behind the ads certainly transcend Nike shoes and try to generate Nike as more of a brand than just a sporting goods seller. Let's have a look at some of the most iconic Nike ads of all time.

Image Source: Wikipedia

The Big List Of The Most Iconic Nike Ads Of All Time

1988 Michael Jordan And Mars Blackmon Ad

This ad started in 1988 and it featured Michael Jordan and the loudmouthed sidekick Mars Blackmon, a role that was first played by Spike Lee in his Auteurs movie She’s Gotta Have it from 1986. Every year for the next 4 years, Jordan was seen wearing his latest sneakers in all of his NBA games. This shoe was promoted all over, especially during the star weekend, and the new TV spot that featured Mike and Spike.


1988 – Just Do It

Their first-ever “Just Do It” ad came out in July of 1988. This was a red-letter year for the swoosh ads, and it featured an 80-year old Walt Stack as he was running over the Golden Gate Bridge. He ran 62,000 miles and became an icon in the running community of San Francisco. The slogan of the ad “Just Do It” was taken from Gary Gilmore who was a death row convict. These were his last words. The commercial was successful for many years.

Freestyle – 2001: Nike Basketball

This was a time where the NBA was trying to adjust to a post-Michael Jordan era, and Nike had created a brilliant ad that featured Rasheed Wallace, Vince Carter, Jason Williams, Dawn Staley, and Darius Miles. They were meant to show that there was still life in the sport. The ad was directed by Paul Hunter and was created by Afrika Bambaataa from the classic track of the movie Planet Rock.

1992 Instant Karma – Nike Air Huarache

After the famous 1987 ad that featured the Beatles, the swoosh made another commercial where John Lennon sang the soundtrack. The ad was directed by David Fincher and featured Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan. Other everyday athletes made the ad extremely interesting. While Lennon sang his hit Instant Karma, flashes of the sneaker line Air Huarache kept popping up. At this time, the huarache runner, training shoes and basketball were the most advanced models at the time and promoting them using an old 1970 track worked perfectly.


1995 – 1997 Phone Ads

This has got to be one of the best ads. Picture this, photos of Nike shoes with phone numbers under them. If a customer called the number, they would receive a song or a voice recording from a celebrity who would tell the athlete more about the shoe model. It was pure genius! It ran for a long time until 1997 and was one of the most popular ads in the entire Nike ads campaigns.

1993 – I Am Not A Role Model

This ad featured Charles Barkley who made a valid point – “Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids.” This statement on the ad prompted a debate in the whole country on whether or not athletes should be seen as role models. Barkley was not the first one to point this out, and saying it aloud on the ads through his sponsor it was very clear what the message entailed.

1997 – Failure

During the last part of Michael Jordan’s career, his ad game became much more inspirational and retrospective, but none of them hit home with the viewers as much as the “failure ad” did. It was part of the Air Jordan campaigns of 1997. In this commercial, Jordan is seen reminiscing about all of the shots he had missed and all the games he had lost. He said that his failures were the reasons for his successes.

Most Iconic Nike Ads Of All Time
Image Source: Wikipedia

The Most Iconic Nike Ads Of All Time Conclusion

Nike ads have stood the test of time, and some of their tag lines are just as popular today as they were when they were produced. Although they may produce great footwear, Nike is a package of genius products and genius marketing. Today, Nike is still a leader in the sports shoe game as well as in leisure footwear, which means we are sure to see some more iconic Nike ads in the future with taglines we'll remember for a long time.

No posts to display