Obese 12-Year-Old in Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” Ad Inspires Mixed Reactions
Nathan Sorrell is a 12-year-old boy from London, Ohio. He’s 5-ft. 3-in., weighs 200 lbs., and yes, he’s in a Nike commercial.
When Nathan heard that Nike was looking for a heavier set kid to star in their latest ad campaign, he signed up immediately.
When he was selected for the commercial, Nathan was forced to run quite a lot more than he was used to. In fact, in a day, he recalled that he ran “about the length of a football field, 50 times probably.”
“Nathan really has trouble running,” Monica Sorrell, Nathan’s mother explained. “He doesn’t like to run and to see how hard he worked for this, I was very proud.”
Despite getting sick in a ditch after lunch, the boy was proud of his accomplishment. “It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be,” he told a local station WCMH.
When the spot aired during the Olympics telecast, the reactions were mixed, from the inspired, the outrage, and to the mockery.
While most people were absolutely awed by the commercial, there are still a few skeptics out there. Is this a social commentary to the alarming obesity rate in the United States? Is this meant to be degrading to overweight kids? Or was it simply an inspiring ad of a boy working hard to achieve a goal?
“By featuring an overweight boy in their ad (and doing so in a respectful manner), Nike challenges the stereotype that overweight youth are inactive, and shows that body size has nothing to do with a person’s ambition or ability to push themselves to achieve their goals,” Rebecca Puhl, Yale University’s Rudd Center Director of Research comments. “It also shows the importance of respecting individuals who are trying to improve their health through physical activity, regardless of what their body size is.”
Unfortunately, not everyone is as impressed. A writer from Jezebel wrote a post entitled “Nike Uses Fat Kid to Sell Shoes, Nation Rejoices.”
“Just getting up and running is not the solution to fat people’s ‘problems,’ because all fat people cannot just get up and run,” she wrote.
Fortunately, there is some follow-up to this campaign, as Nike intends to participate in Nathan and his mom’s weight loss journey.
“The idea behind ‘Find Your Greatness’ is simply to inspire and energize everyday athletes everywhere to celebrate their achievements, participate and enjoy the thrill of achieving in sport at their own level,” explained Greg Hoffman, Nike VP of Brand Design.
So, are you inspired or are you still skeptical? One thing for sure, is that the commentary during the ad is definitely powerful:
“Somehow we’ve come to believe that greatness is reserved for the chosen few, for the superstars. The truth is greatness is for all of us. This is not about lowering expectations, it’s about raising them for every last one of us. Because greatness is not in one special place, and it is not in one special person. Greatness is wherever somebody is trying to find it.”