Nike released a 60-second video spot urging people not to turn their backs on racism as nationwide protests decrying police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery erupted. In a play on its renowned slogan, Nike titled the video, “For once, Don’t Do It,” posting it across its social channels, with the hashtag #UntilWeAllWin.
The text-only video features seven pithy statements appearing in white text against a black backdrop, including “Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us” and “Don’t sit back and be silent.” The video ends with the call-to-action: “Let’s all be part of the change.”
Since Nike posted the video at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, May 29, on Twitter it has received 6.7 million views, 210,000 likes and 100,000 retweets. On Instagram, it’s been viewed nearly 14 million times.
In a statement, Nike told CNN, “We hope that by sharing this film we can serve as a catalyst to inspire action against a deep issue in our society and encourage people to help shape a better future.”
Nike has a long history of highlighting its stand on social issues. In 2017, it launched an equality campaign titled “EQUALITY,” to encourage people to speak out on causes important to Nike athletes and employees including diversity and inclusion. The campaign was accompanied by a monochrome film and a $5 million donation to organizations advancing equality across the US.
In 2018, Nike unveiled a two-minute video spot narrated by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to show its support of athletes who were protesting racial inequality and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.
However, Nike’s most recent anti-racism ad has drawn mixed reviews, sparking criticism on social media. While the video received praise from some celebrities, like rapper Travis Scott, one user lambasted Nike for the lack of diversity at its company. For example, Cindy Gallop tweeted:
Hey @Nike, ‘Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America.’ Not one Black person on your executive leadership team: https://t.co/59e7o4DMgx for a company that’s made billions out of Black sports people and consumers. Change THAT. #DiversityAndInclusion #UntilWeAllWin— Cindy Gallop (@cindygallop) May 30, 2020
One user shared a video showing protesters looting Nike’s store, in response to which another user responded: “Believe in something, even if it means getting looted.”
Another user trashed Nike for its labor practices: “My head is about to explode from the irony of the fact that Nike uses literal slave labor. But hey it’s a problem outside America, so I guess it’s fine to ‘sit back and be silent’ about it.”