New Study Reveals Why Nike’s Ads Are the Most Effective

Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Flyknit
The Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Flyknit in the original's debut colorway.
Courtesy of Nike

The Swoosh has the secret sauce when it comes to grabbing people’s attention, says the latest study from advertising assessment firm Ace Metrix.

With its “Unlimited” campaign, Nike secured three spots on the company’s Top 10 list, which ranked the top “breakthrough” ads for the third quarter of 2016.

According to the researchers, the components of attention and likeability combine to form the breakthrough dimension of an ad, which often translates to more impactful consumer connections for a brand.

Nike’s ‘Unlimited Scout’ earned the title of highest breakthrough ad of the quarter,” the Ace Metrix team said. “The digital ad follows Paralympian runner Scout Bassett as she talks about the training that took her from last place to first. The ad earned the highest likeability score of the group and evoked emotional terms such as ‘moving,’ ‘powerful,’ and ‘inspirational’ in viewer comments.

Four of the Top 5 ads feature inspirational stories of Paralympians and everyday people overcoming unimaginable obstacles to achieve success, the company said.

Nike’s “Unlimited Will” and “Unlimited Youth” campaign landed at No. 5 and No. 10 on the list, respectively.

Ace Metrix CEO Peter Daboll said Nike’s “creative storytelling” was its golden ticket to securing three of the Top 10 spots.

“Mesmerizing visuals and humor also entertained viewers, leading to higher quality ad experiences,” Daboll added.

The CEO also noted that three of the ads on the Top 10 list — including Nike’s No. 1 ad — were digital-only, signaling a shift toward more engaging advertising that viewers actually choose to watch.

[The top] brands are leading the fight against unwanted, uninteresting advertising,” added Daboll.

Automakers BMW and Audi and Italian restaurant chain Olive Garden also made the list.