“Greatness. It’s just something we made up.”
And so begins Nike’s narration for Emmy-nominated “Outstanding Commercial of 2013”, The Jogger. This commercial’s message, originally airing during the Olympics, is coupled with the view of a young, overweight boy running down a barren country road. Steadily jogging along, his determination is obvious and truly inspiring.
The narrator’s monologue goes on to explain how anyone is capable of what is conventionally known as “greatness” and not simply to be looked at as an unrealistic goal or dream to obtain. As long as you try, by putting one foot in front of the other, you have already received such highly coveted “greatness” fitness enthusiasts and companies so elusively talk about and portray.
While some may find this commercial to send a powerful message, inspiring others struggling with body image and health to start their path to fitness, much controversy has stirred as well. Many have been skeptical of Nike’s intentions, asking whether or not the brand is laughing at or lauding the 12-year-old boy at the center of this commercial, Nathan Sorrell.
Nike claims that the commercial was only ever intended to be uplifting. So often fitness lifestyle brands send out images of very lean and fit men and women, with perfect biceps and abs, portraying them as ideal and being the standard in health and beauty. Less often, do these companies delve into each fitness model’s journey to this 24/7 lifestyle of staying in impeccable shape. Here Nike is breaking the mold, showing a young, determined boy on his road to getting healthy, a model by no means, but a role model in many. Nathan Sorrell isn’t the standard in beauty so often thrown around in advertisements and media, but he is “great” because of his focus and determination. He is “great” because he tried.
It is no wonder that this moving commercial is Emmy-nominated. It tells a story of a young boy whose greatness is within reach by simply trying and not being intimidated by what others might think. That boy could essentially be anyone – it could be you, your brother, your friend – and Nike knows that, playing into your heartstrings.