Nike is the Leni Riefenstahl of sports equipment advertisers: Their inspirational fascism is irresistible. We haven't been to the gym in three months, but their spots make us feel like we could run a marathon. Which is why it thrills us that they've signed on as an official supplier of the 2010 Winter Games. Their first Olympics-related spot, released only online, is a brilliant bit of national myth making. Half tongue-in-cheek, half earnest, it features a montage of young Canadian athletes proclaiming their natural hockey heritage. "We start skating at three months old," says one. "I was a skating fetus," says another. Titled Force Fate , the spot belies the notion our hockey teams will win gold simply because the gods are on our side. One woman says proudly, "Let the world keep believing we owe everything to fate." A man adds: "We'll keep training, until we control theirs." The spot makes our hearts swell. And if you ask us, Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff should be concerned: If Nike's marketers ever put their mind to it, they could get the federal NDP elected to a majority government.
Simon Houpt is the Globe and Mail's senior media writer, charged with covering the industry's transformation. He began his career with The Globe in 1999 as the paper's New York arts correspondent, covering the cultural life of that city through Canadian eyes. More