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.
'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: