Media Awards 2004: Campaign Gold Award - Media Campaign Of The Year


Title: Nike Freestyle

Media agency: MindShare

Media director: James Ledger

Account director: Malcolm Russell

Creative agency: Wieden & Kennedy

Marketing director: Benj Fearn

Client: Nike

Brand/product: Freestyle

Media brand manager: Dan Alder

What began life as a series of TV ads featuring an animated stickman with dazzling ball skills grew into an urban youth movement with "freestyle" events up and down the country within four months of launch. The campaign helped Nike stay top of the league of sports brands and, in 2003, reported record profits in the UK. The commercials, created by Wieden & Kennedy, set out to make a hero out of Nike's stickman character - dubbed the "master freestyler" - so that children would ape his moves.

To get its audience more interested in the freestyle "movement" (essentially a mixture of ball skills, either football or basketball, and hip-hop), Nike's agencies made a TV documentary , Freestyler Face Off, telling the story of four British basketballers who travel to New York to pitch their skills against their American counterparts.

Children were then given the chance to compete in a series of events called the "Freestyle Face Off Tour", promoted using outdoor and PR. Four spots on MTV showed glimpses of the action which attracted 30,000 freestylers, all strutting their stuff to a hip-hop soundtrack.

Four contenders made it to the grand final and four different interactive spots, aired on MTV, allowed viewers to vote for their favourite freestyler by e-mail or SMS.

The tournament prompted 200,000 fans to respond to the ads, while 20,000 cast votes. A 60-second spot on MTV, plus posters in football magazines and an event at Niketown celebrated the coronation of Newport's Abbas Farid as the king of freestyle.

Become a member of Campaign

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a member

What is Campaign AI?

Our new premium service offering bespoke monitoring reports for your company.

Find out more

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an alert now

Partner content