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Arizona, USA
March 10
Cynthia Dagnal-Myron is an award-winning former reporter for both the Chicago Sun Times and Arizona Daily Star whose articles have appeared in Rolling Stone, Salon, Working Mother, Orion and many others. During her Sun Times years, she traveled with and interviewed the top rockers, film stars and other celebrities of the 70’s and 80’s. And dated Arnold Schwarzenegger. Once. Her latest book, "The Keka Collection," is available at and Barnes and Noble--Kindle and Nook versions available. Her latest short story, Deadline, is a Kindle book availabled here:

MARCH 16, 2011 9:59PM

The Nike Ad That Changed My Life

Rate: 20 Flag

I was watching Independent Lens...a documentary about the ad campaigns that changed the world, when there...on the screen...was the glossy Nike fold out magazine ad that completely changed my life. 

The creators of the ad talked about all the women who had called Nike and the ad agency to "testify."  And how women still dig through boxes in their attics to find it and hand it on to their pre-pubescent daughters with tears of hope in their eyes.

I did exactly the same thing. 

And for those of you who remember...but most of all for those of you too young to remember, this is the Nike ad that changed...millions of lives.  I don't have the pictures--I would give anything to find another copy of that fold out to keep forever. 

But please save it as is, and give it to a young girl you love as soon as possible.  And talk to her about what it means to you, and what it could mean to her.

It could change her life, in an instant:


The Nike Ad That Changed My Life


You were born a daughter.

You looked up to your mother.

You looked up to your father.

You looked up at everyone.


You wanted to be a princess.

You thought you were a princess.

You wanted to own a horse.

You wanted to be a horse.

You wanted your brother to be a horse.


You wanted to wear pink.

You never wanted to wear pink.


You wanted to be a Veterinarian.

You wanted to be President.

You wanted to be the President's Veterinarian.


You were picked last for the team.

You were the best one on the team.

You refused to be on the team.


You wanted to be good in algebra.

You hid during algebra.

You wanted the boys to notice you.

You were afraid the boys would notice you.


You started to get acne.

You started to get breasts.

You started to get acne that was bigger than your breasts.


You wouldn't wear a bra.

You couldn't wait to wear a bra.

You couldn't fit into a bra.


You didn't like the way you looked.

You didn't like the way your parents looked.

You didn't want to grow up.


You had your first best friend.

You had your first date.

You had your second best friend.


You had your second first date.

You spent hours on the telephone.

You got kissed.

You got to kiss back.


You went to the prom.

You didn't go to the prom.

You went to the prom with the wrong person.


You spent hours on the telephone.


You fell in love.

You fell in love.

You fell in love.


You lost your best friend.

You lost your other best friend.


You really fell in love.


You became a steady girlfriend.

You became a significant other.




Sooner or later, you start taking yourself seriously. You know when you need a break. You know when you need a rest. You know what to get worked up about and what to get rid of. And you know when it's time to take care of yourself, for yourself. To do something that makes you stronger, faster, more complete.

Because you know it's never too late to have a life. And never too late to change one.



A "coda" from the Seattle Times, which explains the origins of the ad:

The copywriter on the women's fitness account is 32-year-old Janet Champ, who started at the agency five years ago as a receptionist and in two years worked her way up to writing ads full time. She has a faux urinal hanging from her ficus ("I couldn't put it on the door, because there are a lot of guys here and you never know what would happen") and children's books, including "Alice in Wonderland," on her office bookshelf for inspiration.

Champ wanted to appeal to women who weren't hard-core athletes. What struck her was how women always took responsibility and time for everyone else but themselves. She wanted to get the message across that women needed to take care of themselves, preferably in Nikes.

She decided to write the life story of a woman: an eight-page ad, which read, in part "You wanted boys to notice you. You were afraid the boys would notice you. You started to get acne. You started to get breasts. You started to get acne that was bigger than your breasts. ... You became a significant other. You became significant to yourself."

Nike worried that there was too much to read, Dolan said. A cardinal rule of advertising is to keep the copy short. So Nike and Wieden and Kennedy took a big chance.

Oprah Winfrey read the advertisement on television and cried.





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That's a really great ad!
I don't remember the ad, but I like this a lot!
I don't remember the ad but I will remember it forever now! Thank you Keka! Great to hear from you.
I don't recall this specific ad but Nike's always been innovative in its advertising and their "Just Do It" slogan is one of those that gets burned into your brain. I hate to admit it but the ad that really made an impression on me was for cigarettes...Virginia Slims. "You've come a long way, baby!"
Excellent post, Keka.

I have a bit of a proprietary feeling toward Nike and their ads. They're just down the road from me here in Oregon. It seems like half my neighbors work for Nike. Their main ad agency, Weiden+Kennedy (also from Oregon), has done some terrific work over the years. (They also did the fabulous Old Spice commercials with the guy on the horse--the man your man could smell like).

I can't really claim them, I don't work at Nike. But I'm proud to have them in my state.

Great post.
I can see how that would resonate.
Sorry but when I think Nike I think slave labour and piss poor pay in their third world factories.
Nice ad wording though.
You know, I knew someone would say that. And I thought about it, when I put up an "ad for an ad." But...the words mattered so much that I wanted to share them, no matter where they came from. They were, by the way, the words of two young women on the creative team who just sat down and started riffing together, about life and love and...being a woman. And they were allowed to do this, and to keep it just as they'd written it. So the ad agency was taking a huge chance on Nike's behalf, and I'm glad they did.

I know about the darker side...but this...took on a life of its own beyond ads, beyond Nike. And the words may have inspired some women to go out and deal with the dark side of which you speak, Creekend!
Wonderful introduction to girlhood. Makes me wish I had a daughter.
Extraordinary piece of work, that was. I adopted Just Do It as my personal slogan. Nice to see you, Ms. Keka!

Lezlie, it's good to be back, however briefly. I was just so moved by this that I had to share it at OS. I knew my old friends would "feel me," and that all of the OS "family" would find inspiration in these words. I am so glad you stopped by to take a look! I've been remiss, I know, but...I found that doing OS was keeping me from doing some other important work--OS gets to be addictive, over time! But I know you're still rockin' it!
And that is, by the way not bad advice for getting involved politically.
Wow! I've had almost 10,000 people read this one--and I couldn't be happier! When Roger Ebert Tweets, things happen. The Facebook hits prove that, too. But this is just a great ad, and I think it's making the rounds as much for that reason as well. It just makes you want to go out and do great things...again!
Excellent post, Keka. I never saw the ad, but now I saved it and will pass it on. Thanks for sharing, sista. Good to see you.
Keka; thank you so much, I don't remember this ad, but I'm in tears I needed this today.r
Hugs, me...I could not be more moved to know that I offered you something you really could "use" today! I'm saving it, too, how that I've found at least the text again. I'm going to make something special out of this, for my writing room wall!

Bless you...and feel GOOD!
I remember that ad as well. Usually it's only the bad ads I it's nice to remember an empowering one.
I remember this
seeing it again was bliss
such loving words
rated with love
So many people have written to say that they remember, or that they especially needed these words today! I am just...astounded and delighted. That's what makes OS such a special place to me. People share things that matter, and they often find the right person just in that nick of time when they're looking for just the right words or ideas.

Glad you're lovin' it as much as I loved being reminded of it last night!
Sorry that I'm late to post here. I've been in the hospital for the past week.

I do remember that campaign and thought it was excellent.
Whoa, Teendoc, I'm sorry to hear that! I hope seeing that ad again made you feel a little bit better. It has been a balm for many souls--maybe it can give you a little strength, too.
Your words here make me so much stronger. Thanks so much.
I totally remember this ad . . . it was the first ad aimed at women that was actually relatable to me, as an athlete, and as a person . . . it encompassed so much of what it is to be human . . .
thank you so much for that ... I have the full ad laminated somewhere in my mother's basement which I will try to find, but googled it in a time of need, as I found such inspiration and strength it in when I first read it when I would have been maybe 18 years old!
Janet Champ had a creative partner on that campaign, Charlotte Moore. They continued to work together, and a few years ago created the book "RIPE" (the truth about growing older). A great read for all those girls who have grown up!