Nike Japan’s ‘The Pledge’ Highlights Individual Performance in Team Culture

Nike Japan's new TV commercial “The Pledge,” sends the message that players of any sport can inspire team, coach, fan, rival and the world, showing that individual effort and success eventually lead to team success. Part of the “Make Them Talk” campaign, the ad features baseball icon Hideo Nomo and major leaguer Koji Uehara.

The ad depicts a young baseball player who makes a pledge for fair play at a baseball tournament, unconventionally emphasizing his own success at the game; Japanese pledges traditionally focus more on team spirit. “Ladies and gentlemen, we all stand before you, but… I ask you to watch me!” The surprised crowd at the stadium segues to those tuning in via radio and TV. Baseball legend Hideo Nomo, seen on a massage table, raises his head upon hearing the pledge from a TV. Pitcher Koji Uehara chuckles at the bold pledge while riding in a taxi.

(Click the cc button at lower right to choose subtitled version.) 

Nike Japan believes that baseball, a sport that puts weight on team play, can further evolve and become more attractive by focusing on individuals and shedding light on the character of hard-working players — and how they differ from other players. 

“At Nike, we always listen to the voice of the athletes. The idea behind 'Pledge' is, not only do we listen, but we also want to inspire and elevate athletes by giving them an opportunity to make their voices heard to their team, friends, family and the world. We believe that everyone deserves that opportunity, whatever their level of competition,” said Paolo Tubito, VP of Marketing, Nike Japan.

Nike Baseball wishes to give opportunities for players to get credit as individuals at the same time as they work strenuously for the good of the team. In reward for their efforts, they will become the main protagonist, develop the confidence to be dubbed a once-in-a-hundred-year player, and impress the world with their performance. We will continue to spread the message that such individual performance is what makes people around them talk.

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