Just Do It: Nike celebrates Middle-East's female champions

Just Do It: Nike celebrates Middle-East's female champions
New Middle East campaign by Nike challenges the cultural expectations and criticisms that are levelled against female athletes in the region.
2 min read
19 Feb, 2017
The campaign's video features Arab sportswomen from different disciplines [Nike]

Sportswear giant Nike have launched a bold new ad campaign that celebrates female athletes from the Middle East and challenges negative attitudes towards them.

Featuring five sportswomen from a range of fields, including Parkour rrainer Amal Mourad, boxer Arifa Bseiso, fencer Inès Boubakri, singer Balqees Fathi, and figure skater Zahra Lari, Nike's cool and colourful short film produced for the campaign asks the question, "What will they say about you?"

"They will say that you're not supposed to be here," the narrator says as a girl is seen skateboarding past startled onlookers.

"They will say you must be strong," she says at another point, where Jordanian boxer Arifa Bseiso is shown training under the hot desert sun.

"There's a fear to stand out and do something that's not part of the norm... Don't be afraid of your own greatness," Emirati parkour athlete Amal Murad is quoted by Vogue as saying.

Speaking on the same subject, Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari says: "Ive had a lot of criticism throughout my journey, but I’ve never let that stop me or bring me down". 

'What will they say about you?' asks Nike's new Middle East campaign [Nike]

In the closing moments of the Nike video, a shot of Tunisian fencer Ines Boubkar standing defiantly on a hilltop cuts quickly to show a young child taking her first steps on an ice rink.

After returning to the hijab-clad skateboarder from the beginning, it abruptly ends with Nike's slogan, which in turn answers the barrage of potential criticism: "Just do it".

While the film portrays a bold and boundary-breaking image of Arab female athletes, the campaign has garnered a mixed reaction from social media users.

Some have reacted in support of the campaign, while others criticised what they saw as a simple marketing ploy.