Dear Nike

Dear Nike,

I was so inspired, while watching the Olympics today, to see your new commercial for “Find Your Greatness”. When I saw someone running, panting, actually sweating (and not from the “I look hot when I sweat” perspective), and saw that the person was plus-sized, it affected me deeply. What a brave departure from the standard athletic advertising schtick! Your commercial is a game changer.

For those who haven’t seen the commercial, see Nike: Find Your Greatness:

As a plus-sized former college All-American (20 years later) who just finished her first 10K on July 4th (1:20 in the Peachtree Road Race, thanks very much), and is starting a half-marathon training program on Saturday, I was absolutely thrilled that you were willing to lead the way in this regard. That is, until I tried to support you by buying some running clothes on your website. Out of 34 pairs of shorts, you provide 3 that fit people above an XL, and all of which will ride up on a woman who has plus-sized thighs (chafing, anyone?). Out of 31 running tshirts, I have a choice of 2. You offer no tank tops above a size XL.

I love your clothes – love them. I see them on other people, and wish I could wear them. I’ve debated starting a plus sized line of running clothing myself – even maybe a store or website that sells them. A source that provides women like me – women who find themselves out of shape and almost 40, finally making time to hit the road and take care of “me” for an hour or so per day – equipment that supports us in that choice and encourages US to “Find OUR Greatness”.

We want to so badly. And, many of us would love to do it in cute clothing that helps us keep from overheating as we slog it out on the streets – mile by mile, and hopefully, pound by pound.

I commend you for being pioneers in your advertising by including those who may not be the “perfect model” for your clothing (though definitely the perfect hearts for your brand). I understand the concept of branding, and catering to a targeted audience with your products to further that brand. However, marketing your products also comes with the responsibility of the fact that your marketing shapes the world that we live in.

Your branding isn’t just exemplified in your advertising – it’s virally marketed via your clothing and products. If you really stand for fitness and health, why not encourage and facilitate everyone participating in that process by providing a line for those of us traditionally ostracized from the very activities we so desperately need?

Will YOU continue to find YOUR greatness? Nike, will YOU step up and lead in your product as well as your commercials? I’d love to hear from you – heck, I’d love to help you do it!

With hope and respect,

Rachelle Willoughby

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3 Responses to Dear Nike

  1. So very, very much love for this. I’m 5’11″, 250. I’ve never been much of a Nike fan, but this commercial, in conjunction with my just starting the Couch to 5K program a few weeks ago, has done an awful lot to change my mind on them. When I saw this during the Olympics, I was a soggy, weepy mess, because that kid could be me.

    • illbethechange says:

      Jeremy – I have heard about your phenomenal progress and the work you’ve put in. Congratulations, and please keep it up. You are an inspiration to everyone around you!

  2. Hear! Hear! Very well said.