Case Study: Nike “Dream Crazy” And How It Inspired Change

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The Nike “Dream Crazy” campaign is expected to have a lasting impact on the marketing industry by showing that brands can be agents of change. It highlights the potential for companies to tackle complex issues, authentically engage with their audience, and contribute to important social causes. This campaign has set a standard for brands to be authentic, courageous, and proactive in addressing the issues that matter most to their audience, transcending traditional marketing to drive meaningful and lasting change. Let’s take a closer look at it.


Nike is one of the world’s most iconic and recognisable sportswear brands. Founded in 1964, Nike has established itself as a global leader in athletic apparel and footwear. The brand is renowned for its innovative products and has a history of powerful marketing campaigns that inspire athletes and individuals worldwide.


In 2020, Nike took on the challenge of creating a campaign that addressed complex social issues and sparked important conversations. The goal was to leverage the brand’s influence and reach to contribute to the dialogue on social justice, equality, and the power of sports to drive change. Nike wanted to create a campaign that was not just about promoting its products but about making a significant impact in society.


The “Dream Crazy” campaign, featuring the slogan “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” was a bold move by Nike that succeeded in numerous ways:

Embracing Controversy: Nike made the strategic choice to feature Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback known for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, as the face of the campaign. This choice was bold and controversial, but it demonstrated Nike’s commitment to addressing important social issues.

Authentic Storytelling: The campaign utilised authentic storytelling, focusing on personal narratives and challenges faced by athletes, including Kaepernick. These stories were deeply emotional and resonated with viewers, creating a powerful connection with the brand.

Multichannel Approach: Nike used a multi-channel approach, leveraging social media, video advertising, and partnerships with influencers to maximise the campaign’s reach. The “Dream Crazy” ad aired during high-profile events like the NFL season opener, garnering significant attention.

Positive Impact: As part of the campaign, Nike announced a commitment to donate $5 million to various organisations dedicated to advancing equality, including the Colin Kaepernick Know Your Rights Camp. This demonstrated that Nike was not just capitalising on a social issue but actively contributing to the cause.

Driving Conversation: The campaign sparked conversations and debates on social justice, equality, and the role of brands in addressing these issues. It pushed the boundaries of traditional marketing by taking a stance on a divisive issue and encouraging people to reflect on their beliefs.


The Nike “Dream Crazy” campaign was a groundbreaking success. It managed to capture the essence of social justice movements while authentically connecting with athletes and consumers. Nike’s willingness to embrace controversy and take a stand on important societal issues set a powerful precedent for the brand’s role in advocating for change beyond just selling products.

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