Selling Truth: How Nike’s Advertising to Women Claimed a Contested Reality
Advertising Educational Foundation
Advertising & Society Review
This study tracked the evolution of three “big ideas” in Nike’s advertising to women from 1990 to 2000: empowerment, entitlement, and product emphasis. It also takes a longitudinal look at the process from which the ads were created and the way the creative team addressed the constraints upon that process. Based on depth interviews among key informants at Nike and its two ad agencies during that decade, it is the story of how the creative team produced advertising that challenged the media norms that affect the roles of women associated with the institution of sports. Though their creative strategy was simply to speak the truth as they saw it, it frequently pitted them against the executives at Nike in a battle over whose reality would be depicted.