Nike sends a powerful message to youth (Generation Z).
As a parent of a tween, I get to support my daughter’s development as she comes into her own awareness and individuality. It is up to me and her father to help her make sense of the world and to reinforce values we hope she will keep close as she eventually explores the world on her own. Parenting is a responsibility I am both grateful to have and nervous to manage. I am one of the first generations to raise a member of “Generation Z” – a group born into technology and true digital natives. She does not know a world without the internet – for Generation Z there is almost no separation between online and real life.
- According to the New York Times, Gen Z is able to take in information instantaneously and lose interest just as fast. I realize that my daughter faces levels of digital noise, peer pressure, and distractions that I could never imagine at her age.
- Forbes Magazine explains that, alongside being fully integrated in technology, diversity is the new normal for Gen Z. Gen Z is likely to be more comfortable and familiar with different cultures, races and ethnicities than previous generations.
- This generation was even the inspiration behind Bo Burnham’s film “Eighth Grade”, a heart breaking story about an anxious 13-year old who is struggling to find her place in a world of peer pressure, social media saturation and adolescent awkwardness.
There’s simply not a parenting manual (yet) for Generation Z.
But there is a silver lining – my daughter loves athletic wear. Nike is a brand that we have supported casually (for fashion purposes) and intentionally (to ensure that she has quality gear backing her sports performances). There are many families that can attest to Nike being a household name. With its ad campaign decision, Nike sends a simple message that rises above the digital noise:
If there is something you sincerely believe in, speaking up or standing out may come with personal sacrifice, but that does not mean that your decision is wrong. Even if you are the only one among your peers who chooses to take a stand, keep believing. Even if your friends don’t agree with you, keep standing with conviction. And, in that belief – never compromise your ability to remain at peace or to operate with compassion for others.
I aim to share this message with my little one privately – but as her awareness of the world broadens, this message takes on heightened validity when it comes from a popular consumer brand and influential sports figure. The Nike 30th anniversary campaign signifies a significant moment that I hope her generation remembers for a lifetime.