Kid Athletes Are Anything but Fragile in This Upbeat Anthem From Nike China

A clear message for overprotective adults

Headshot of Cara Anderson

To hear the team at Nike China describe it, the country’s attitude towards children can be woefully coddling. But the young stars in Nike Shanghai’s latest campaign, created by R/GA Shanghai, are not playing around.

“You think we’re just kids,” opens the voice-over in the centerpiece anthem, as a series of kid athletes stare purposefully at the camera. “That we need to be protected.”

The 1:00 launches into an increasingly defiant montage, as a runner, boxer, footballer and basketball player—all aged 10-13 years old and real-life athletes—seek to show all the condescending adults in their lives just how tough they really are.

“When it comes to sports, children have the grit, determination and fearlessness of adults. They aren’t constrained by their age, but they’re sometimes constrained by parents’ fears of them falling or failing,” say Steve Tsoi, VP Marketing of Nike Greater China in a statement. “We wanted to help overcome this overprotectiveness by reframing ‘young athletes’ as athletes who happen to be young.”

In other words, the ads seeks to counteract what the brand’s team describes as a  “trend of saccharine parental sentimentality towards children in China.”

The tagline? “Don’t call me precious,” say the kids, as their parents stare, jaws slack, in the ad’s final shot.

It’s typical Nike fare—upbeat, engaging, laser-focused—transposed to a younger demographic. “Sports doesn’t care how old you are,” says Terence Leon, executive creative director at R/GA Shanghai. “It’s going to be just [as] tough on you whether you’re 13 or 30, and just as rewarding.”

It’s also consistent with Nike China’s past messaging, calling to mind the summer 2017 “Badge of Honor” campaign from W+K Shanghai, which addressed kids (and their worried parents) with fun comic-book themed band-aids, so young athletes could celebrate their hard-won cuts and scrapes.

The new anthem draws from four short films highlighting each athlete, which will appear online and across digital out of home sites. A meme generator, meanwhile, will allow users to create their own posters and “inspirational quips,” according to Nike.

Other summer events supporting the campaign will include the Nike Children’s Run, Football Training Camp and Rise Academy, pitch and court takeovers as well as a dedicated Don’t Call Me Precious event at Beijing Dongdan Sports Park.


Client – Nike China

Agency: R/GA Shanhgai
Executive Creative Director: Terence Leong
Associate Creative Directors: Cook Xu, Timothy Cheng, Ashley Chin
Copywriters: Cook Xu, Jam Li
Visual Designers: Yimeng Bai, Martha Ma, Kaori Li
Account Director: Richard Zhou
Account Manager: Lexi Wang
Producers: Barry Peng, Kris Wang, Ann Yao
Content Producer: Hon Foong
Senior Technology Director: Laurent Thevenet
Software Engineer : Dragon Chiang
Experience Designer: Xingpei Wang
Senior Strategist : Scarlett Li

Production Company: Playfull Production, Shanghai
Film Director: Ben Brand
Executive Producer: Wolfie Wong
Editor: Xavier Perkins
Director of Photography: Paul Ozgur
First AD: Jiji Hu
Producers: Steven Chung / Manley Hua
Art Director – Matz Leung
Stylist – Julian Mei
Composer – Chris Zhou (Fantasy Music)
Post Production House – Fin Shanghai
Post Producer – Billy Becket
Colorist – Nick Barton
Online Editors – Ted Tsui / Michael Fu / Ran Xiao Xu / Camille Shen

@cara_02 Cara Anderson is a contributor to Adweek.
Publish date: June 19, 2018 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT