Live life to the fullest! Buy Nike!

This post has nothing to do with feminism specifically, but all sorts of things to do with douchebaggery, so it gets a pass.

This video, “Make it Count” has been making the rounds online today. People seem to find it inspiring. It isn’t. Watch at your own risk (so, yeah, don’t watch it if you don’t like watching Nike ads but do watch if you enjoy ranting!).


Okay so let me get this straight. The opening shot is of the Nike logo and yet we are to believe that this guy, Casey Niestat, totally screwed Nike over, taking the $50,000 given to him to make a Nike ad and instead traveled the world made a Nike ad while blowing $50,000 traveling the world? SO REBELLIOUS YOU GUYS!

The first goddamned line we see is: “Life is a sport. Make it count” – a Nike slogan.

Aside from the fact that this ad is still an ad for Nike, but pretends not to be, the video is brimming over with Eurocentric, middle class, clueless marketing-cheese. Basically we are to believe, as Gabe over at Videogum put it: “that the rest of us our living our lives wrong because we didn’t GET A FREE TRIP AROUND THE WORLD.”

Because we weren’t given $50,000 to burn as quickly as possible, point out funny foreign signs (HA HA! If you don’t write in English you aren’t using real words!),  and be the free spirits that only middle class white men can truly be in this world, we are all wasting our lives, you know, working and paying rent and trying to survive and all those stupid things that only boring, uptight people do.

Anyone equipped with the ability to critically assess marketing campaigns, advertising, and mass media probably won’t be fooled by this video but my irritation goes beyond the attempt to trick the public into believing that this video is an act of rebellion rather than an ad.

MOST PEOPLE can’t afford to travel around the world. Actually, get this! Most people can’t afford to travel. Most people can’t afford to go on vacations. I know this because I can’t afford to travel and go on vacations – and I am relatively privileged in comparison to many people in other parts of the world as well as in my own city. If you are going to tell me that I am not really living my life, that I am not really free, that I’m wasting days because I have to work and eat and figure out ways to pay my rent, I’m going to tell you that you are a huge, self-centered, moron.

Anyway, you work for Nike, so please shut the fuck up with this “you only live once” crap. EVERYONE only lives once. But lucky you! You were born a privileged, idiot, white dude and you decided to spend your time doing marketing campaigns for Nike and shoving the fact that you threw away $50,000 (which is more than most people make in a year) in ten days in people’s faces.  Freeeeeeeeedom!

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • 10 days??? 10 effing days??? He’s not only a huge self-centred clueless moron, he’s also really dim witted. He could have lived abroad for an effing YEAR with that amount of money at least. Not to mention, he could have bought a house somewhere in the Caribbean and never had to go back to the US…
    If I had 50 grand to blow, I’d blow them in grand fashion. Then again… I don’t have a male ego to take care of.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Exactly. So fucking offensive. If someone gave me $50, 000 I’d pay off (some) of my student loans. What an ass.

  • kmiriam

    The picture up there surely makes it a feminist issue. ugh. Great rant! sharp as usual!

    • Meghan Murphy

      So true!

    • Becci

      Most thumbs-upped comment on the vid right now:

      “You came here for this 3:50 :P”

      Which of course is where the 2 women show up. It’s really hard to find pictures of attractive young white women in swimsuits on the internet and elsewhere so you can see why people would be so excited.

  • Missfit

    Calling out such douchebaggery is defenitely in the spirit of feminism. I love it!

  • Hari

    THis shit is so damn tiresome….haven’t seen this ad, but my favorite current rant-able ad comes from Disney about visiting one of their parks. Worst part is when the 13-ish yr old girl is posing with a Disney Prince, and the voice-over is saying something to the effect of how few moments are left before your princess finds her real life Prince Charming (so hurry down to experience the magic, before it’s too late!). Yeah, b/c a family’s life–a kid’s very childhood–is just not complete without a trip to the Magic Kingdom! As if all that many people with a few kids can afford that trip. Bah.

  • marv wheale

    Meghan I found your strident and accusatory commentary to be utterly true and justified. I would like to add some supplementary criticisms from a Majority World perspective if you think they are appropriate.

    Every year 400,000 people relocate in Dhaka, Bangladesh from the countryside searching for employment (putting aside most other cities with similar trends). The city has increased from 6 million in 1990 to 16 million and counting, today. Around half of the migrants are fleeing the encroachment of rising sea water on their farms due to global warming. The vast majority settle into slums in complete destitution. Numerous displaced women turn to selling their bodies in order to feed their children and themselves because real work is non-existent. So let no one forget that climate disruption is exacerbating prostitution.

    Climate refugees are receiving little to no ecological reparations from western nations who are responsible for the highest per-capita CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere. As migration scholar, Francois Gemenne has observed, these refugees are living proof of climate upheaval, but wryly notes that the “canaries in the coalmines were never saved: their function was to alert”. Poor Bangladesh: so far from equality and too close to male western civilization.

    Even if we halted the flow of CO2 today we would still reach a two degrees Celsius rise in global temperature by 2030 or earlier which would be catastrophic for Bangladesh, causing floods that would cover 30% of its land. Many scientists will admit behind closed doors that a four degrees rise by 2050 is likely if serious mitigation measures are not taken. Without deep cuts in emissions, adaptation programs (read harm reduction) will not prevent dramatic devastating change for the whole world let alone Bangladesh, once the tipping point is reached. Surely this calamity is a damning indictment of the luxurious lifestyles of westerners flying around the world and driving SUVs and luxury cars.

    Global warming is dissolving not only the ice caps and glaciers but old male capitalist ideologies about enlightened self-interest and consumerism . It is unravelling an intrusive market economy which has forced us into a form of serfdom (Nike is one illustration). In time corporate power will be seen by society as one of the most damaging institutions ever conceived by white men right up there with slavery, racism and colonialism. All of them are rooted in sexism which is also waiting to be fully recognized as a foundational oppression. The whole system has been elaborated ad nauseam through mythical reasoning that equates human fulfillment with domination, individual and market freedom and sex liberalism.

    • Hari

      See, Marv–this is exactly why I just can’t understand why anyone buys into advertising like Nike’s, or thinks a Disney vacation is all one needs for the perfect little life. When I think of shopping, vacations amusement parks or even going to see a movie, all I can think of is the gigantic squandering of energy and other resources for fashion, fun and so-called fulfillment, while the rest of the world is displaced and so severely distressed as you detail in your post. I’m such a killjoy, I guess–and so unpatriotic! Thanks for all of that.

      • marv wheale

        You are the exact opposite of your self deprecation, Hari. We are indoctrinated from birth to believe the propaganda of our culture. We aren’t educated to comprehend that authentic joy is rooted in equality. People like you who are awake and aware, spread joy, they don’t kill it. Only dead fish float with the stream. You are alive. Celebrate yourself and all the mindful people we know.

        • Hari

          Thanks marv! <3