Work, New York

Nike

Be True

Until We All Win. BeTrue 2019

In 2012 a group of Nike employees first conceived the idea of what was to become BETRUE. Since then BETRUE has become a marker of pride, unity and community, an annual expression for Nike to celebrate Pride month and show its solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community. Each year Nike uses its unique position in sport to access key athletic figures and launches a new collection of footwear and apparel in an effort to help foster a culture of unity, acceptance and equality through its celebratory campaign.

2019 heralds a very special year for Pride; marking 50 years since the stonewall riots, New York as the centre for World Pride and over 40 years since the creation of the Rainbow Flag.

Created in ‘68 at the request of Harvey Milk, Gilbert Bakers’ Rainbow Flag, has become a worldwide marker for the LGBTQIA+ community and remains a global symbol of positivity and unity.

This year sees Nike partnering with the Gilbert Baker estate to create a campaign that compounds it’s enduring message of community pride and equality. At its heart communicating the power of solidarity and support; demonstrating that it’s when we all stand together, that we’re able to truly win.

A hero Rosie Lee image

We needed to conceive a campaign that was both iconic, celebratory and visually arresting.

In the field of Pride noise we needed to stand out and ensure the BETRUE message was heard, loud and clear.

With access to a group of highly inspirational and equally celebrated LGBTQIA+ athletes, we share a message of progress and achievement, all seen through the lens of support and teamwork. We wanted to focus on the allies of athletes as much as the core athletes own unique stories of challenge and achievement. Recognising and communicating the need for allyship to achieve true progress, and inspiring the next generation to continue working together for true equality.

At the heart of the campaign is it’s manifesto - one which lays down the gauntlet to level the playing field. For everyone, from every community to stand together, for us all to truly win, and importantly to deliver it’s rallying cry - UNTIL WE ALL WIN.

A hero Rosie Lee image

In order to cut through the inevitable visual noise, Nike wanted to create a campaign that delivered visually arresting drama. To this end we used a mix of cinematic-style black and white portraiture and authentic footage, to create striking visuals and moving image of the athletes involved. The sole colour of the campaign coming from the contrasting impact of Gilbert Baker's Rainbow Flag set within a Nike lock-up, against this black and white backdrop.

We worked with extraordinary athletes from Nikes teams in Running, Basketball, Skateboarding and Soccer who represent the LGBTQIA+ community. In Basketball, Sue Bird - 11-time WNBA All-Star - and Brittney Griner - one of the US’s most celebrated basketball players. In Running, Chris Mosier - highly decorated Team USA member and first USA transgender triathlete - and Gold winning and multi honoured Olympian Caster Semenya - who’s gender scrutiny by international sporting committees continues to rage on.

A hero Rosie Lee image

Representing pro Skateboarding, Elissa Steamer; the first woman to have attained professional status in the history of the sport.

They stand alongside a glittering array of equally celebrated athletes, as supporters and allies. Jewell Lloyd and Jordin Canada, Sue Bird's Seattle Storm team mates. Kerron Clement - Olympian sprint and hurdle star - and Paralympian Scout Bassett.  Pro Skateboarders Fernando Bramsmark and Eric Koston and US Soccer star Mark McKenzie.

A hero Rosie Lee image

Our role was to create the visual centre for the campaign - a film and suite of campaign imagery that shows this core group of inspirational athletes from the lgbtqia+ community standing shoulder to shoulder with their allies - the people that stand alongside them to support their ambition for change, acceptance, celebration and unity within sport and culture at large.

A hero Rosie Lee image

The campaign needed to deliver three key components, the BETRUE campaign film, a suite of campaign photography and the new BETRUE product imagery.

The film plays a significant role in the campaign - providing an impactful delivery of the manifesto and it’s core message by introducing this group of highly decorated Nike athletes representing the LGBTQIA+ community alongside their allies from Basketball, Running and Skateboarding, culminating in our unity behind it’s ultimate message - that it’s only when we stand together that we will truly win.

The film was conceived by our creative team and captured by Bob Hoste with editing by long time friends of ours at Trim Editing London.

A hero Rosie Lee image
A hero Rosie Lee image
A hero Rosie Lee image

The campaign imagery delivers 3 elements to it’s hierarchy in terms of creative direction.

Captured by esteemed photographers Marcus Smith (Running, Basketball, Soccer) and Atiba Jefferson (Skate) and guest Art Direction by Philip Picardi Editor in Chief at Out Magazine.

The first tranche of images show the athletes alongside their supporters and allies, demonstrating their unity and shared ambition to level the playing field for all  - across all boundaries of gender, age and sexual orientation.

The second convey the stories of the core group of athletes - communicated through impactful solo portrait imagery of the athletes from the LGBTQIA+ community, who are willing to share their unique challenges and accomplishments in their individual sporting disciplines. Showing both their professional athletic prowess of the athletes as well as revealing more of the emotional/personal sides of their personalities. Relaxed contemporary styling provided by the talented Yashua Simmons.

A hero Rosie Lee image
A hero Rosie Lee image
A hero Rosie Lee image
A hero Rosie Lee image

And finally product imagery was photographed by the talented Luca Venter and styled by Thistle Brown - The BETRUE collection featuring the Nike Zoom X Vaporfly, Air Max 720, Air Tailwind 79, Zoom Pegasus 35 Turbo, Air Max 90 and Benassi slides where Nike designers pay homage to the Gilbert Baker flag featuring for the first time an embroidered  8 colour swoosh in the footwear collection, and apparel with new full flag visual representation across tees, hoodies and socks.

The campaign has gone live in OOH, social and across mainstream media in the US/globally, as well as across all Nike communication channels including their main social presences. Product launched at selected global retailers on the 1st June with 8th June seeing it’s release in North America on nike.com, SNKRS and at select Nike stores.