The recent debate over Under Armour and its CEO’s apparent support for President Trump pushed the politics of the leading sports apparel brands into the spotlight.
In contrast to Under Armour‘s recent political controversy, Nike has long enjoyed a mostly positive profile when it comes to its position on inclusion and being generally progressive.
Yes, the company is trying to sell shoes, but staking out positions on touchy subjects is noteworthy, and not without risks. The latest example is a new Nike video posted on the company’s Middle East Twitter feed, which doubles down on its commitment to women achieving excellence and building leadership through sports.
Showing women running, doing parkour, ice skating, riding motorcycles and even boxing, all in what appear to be Middle Eastern settings, a voice-over says, “What will they say about you?” Along those lines, at one point, an older man looks on, seemingly disapprovingly, as a woman in a hijab skateboards through the middle of town.
But later in the video, the voice-over suggests, “Maybe they’ll say you’re the next big thing.”
Looking at the comments on the tweet from the official Nike Middle East account, not everyone is happy with the video. However, there are enough positive comments attached to the tweet to indicate that Nike may have struck the right balance between suggesting an approach to its Middle Eastern customers regarding women in sports and simply saying “just do it.”
Either way, love it or hate, it’s another example of Nike running where other sports brands are too timid to tread.