Do you know Nathan Sorrell?

Do you know who Nathan Sorrell is?  I didn’t either until I had the opportunity to see the Nike commercial featured during this years Summer Olympics.  The “Find your Greatness” ad features Nathan, a 12 year old 200 lb boy from London, Ohio.  The commercial is a minute of Nathan running down a dirt road in a rural area with a t-shirt, shorts and of course a new pair of Nikes. Breathing hard and looking a bit stressed the narrator so eloquently talks about “greatness . . . we are all capable of it”

I liked the ad.  It is inspiring to see someone for whom running is an obvious challenge take it on.  David Katz, editor-in-chief of the journal Childhood Obesity, criticized the ad as exploitive and bad because it pairs athleticism with greatness.  Having worked substantially with obesity and having researched childhood obesity, I disagree.  The ad is not about obesity anyway, it is about greatness.  Greatness is not inherently viewed as success it is about meeting and succeeding at one’s challenges. Inherently.  That is what the Olympics is about .  . I think, at least for the participants.

The ad is not about sneakers either. It is about pain. Watching the ad causes us to tap into his pain and, as such, our own pain.  Can we then overcome our own imperfections or challenges?  And movement is a great medium because it’s not his or our physical movement it’s our internal movement, the change that occurs when we subject ourselves to our challenges.  The creator is genius.

People have criticized the ad as being exploitive, that is, taking on a weak link to sell a  product.  Donny Deutsch likes the ad and says that anyone who thinks its exploitive is discriminatory.  With Matt Lauer, Donny commented “we are all imperfect in one way or another” . . . not you Donny!

If you haven’t yet seen it you should. It’s on youtube. At the end of the day, I want to know . . . how were the sales of Nike sneakers following the commercial?