That bizarre new Nike ad is all kinds of wrong

Nike ad which reads 'You can't spell Coach without K'
(Image credit: Nike)

Nike has been responsible for some of the most memorable ads of the last century, across everything from print to video. But even the most advertising-savvy brands can get it wrong sometimes – and to prove that marketing teams shouldn't always live by the 'just do it' mantra, here's a rare clanger from the company.

On its official social media channels, Nike shared an ad paying tribute to coach Mike Krzyzewski, or 'Coach K', on his retirement. How did it decide to honour the legendary coach? By displaying an appalling grasp of spelling. The best print ads of all time are often provocative, but this one is plain baffling.

A post shared by Nike (@nike)

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'You can't spell honour without 'K,'' the ad begins. It then goes on to suggest that one also cannot spell 'championship', 'coach' and 'brotherhood' without the letter. Now, unlike 'knife', 'knuckle' and 'knob', those are words that definitely don't carry a silent 'K'. The gimmicky ads are clearly meant in jest, but as many social media users have pointed out, they've only ended up looking erroneous. 

The problem is probably how serious it all looks. With the plain black background and tasteful serif font, the ad (above) is straight from the realm of the motivational poster. And that's before the plinky-plonky piano soundtrack is thrown in. There's a sense of earnest respect (respekt?) to the aesthetic that just doesn't jibe with the deliberate grammar fail. It just looks like Nike can't spell.

Unsurprisingly, the ad is getting roasted online. "Someone isn't going to win the spelling bee any time soon," one user comments on Instagram, while another adds, "this is unironically ironically funny". And naturally, the ad was given the Photoshop treatment pretty quickly:

Photoshopped Nike ad which reads 'You can't spell'

Someone had to do it (Image credit: Nike/Pete Mackin on Twitter)

So, unlike that brilliant pandemic era ad, it seems this is a rare own goal from Nike. But hey, the company still has one of the best logos of all time, so what's one dodgy social media post? 

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.