Nike+ Ads: Inspired By Mario

What would you rather do: Workout or play video games?

Yeah, I’d rather eat cinnamon buns too.  I mean, I’d rather play video games too. I mean, who wants to workout?

Since Dr. Robert Bruce invented the treadmill in 1952 (that jerk), people have tried to find a way to make exercising less, shall we say, AWFUL.

Well, on the heels of a new Nike ad campaign from Wieden + Kennedy Agency in Portland, the Sneaker Baron may have actually accomplished the lofty feat.

Nike+, Nike’s system for tracking, sharing, and progressing your exercise and training results, has two new television spots that transform a jogger’s city streets into a combination of Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, and NBA Jam. The ads are fast, fun, and chalked full of cameos, from Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Desean Jackson getting his double-dutch on, to a robot version of basketball legend LeBron James, to an angry Ving Rhames.  And it looks like you better be in damn good shape if you’re going to be dodging flaming basketballs and dunking on Marsellus Wallace.

Of course, using the Nike+ system, and more specifically the new FuelBand, won’t actually transform your jogging route into an action-packed virtual fun-zone, but the ads certainly illustrate how exercising with Nike+ can offer some “next-level” motivation. Exercising doesn’t have to be looked at as a daily grind in the gym; with Nike+, it’s a personal competition to beat your high score.

The ads illustrate a fun, competitive side to solo exertion, but is this misleading? I mean, the concept is great, but will people feel let down when they’re out power walking, and jump on a mushroom, and don’t double in size?

There is an alternative side, of course, that people who workout don’t want their less-than-impressive results posted on the internet for all their friends to see, retweet and comment “pathetic” on. But the psychology is there: people are more likely to follow through on a goal if they offer a public commitment. Showing everyone you’re trying to get better is an excellent starting point to actually getting better.

What do you think? Do you like the new ads? Would you workout with Nike+?

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