Thinking Uncategorized

Dear Nike and Wieden+Kennedy, have you thought about running a school?

Dear sirs,

I do two things that have inspired this post. I mentor a 6 yr old boy, who was recently excluded from school on account of his behaviour. He is sometimes what might be described as hyperactive, and I’ve found that the way to engage him best is by playing sport.


I also work in communication, and I’m a huge fan of W+K’s work for Nike. It’s just brilliant: Grid, Boom (below), What Should I Do?, Write the Future – terrific, inspiring stuff.



So I put the two together. and thought: nike schools.


nike schools


(for kids that can’t sit still)


you’ve got the ethos of the school down already: just do it; the ‘be whatever you want to be’ vibe. Write the Future? How is that not a school motto already?


A lack of aspiration is generally the classic failing in kids from lower income families, kids stuck in the poverty trap – their parents don’t have high hopes for them, their community doesn’t inspire them, they have no aspiration.


And then at school we compel kids to sit still for hours – when they are built to run around (see Sir Ken Robinson on kinetic learning in this TED talk)


There is a generation of young urban males being switched off schools. 

So what do they aspire to? Sports stars. They look up at sports stars as the ultimate achievers – partly because due to the awesome branding that Nike does.


So let’s teach, reward, discipline, guide kids through sport. they’ll lap it up. trajectory and distance of free kicks; the speed of the football is distance over time…


Now I’m guessing Nike aren’t prepared to run a school – but they don’t have to; you find a willing partner running an academy, and you sponsor them with some cash, they design the lessons around sport, or ensure there is vast amounts of sport in the school day.


In return, Nike provide loads of sportswear, which forms rewards for good academic and sporting achievement; and more importantly, Nike or W+K provide all the branding and ethos advice the school can take. 


Imagine a giant orange swoosh on the black perimeter wall of the school – bright orange letters that greet the kids with ‘Just Do It’. The constant association of high sporting achievement with high academic achievement


don’t know if it would be good marketing, but it would be amazing for the kids.


just do it.



joe mitchell


p.s. I’ll stop writing about Nike/W+K for a bit now.



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