David Blecken
Aug 8, 2016

Minohodoshirazu: Not knowing your place is good, Nike says

Nike’s new work for Japan turns a narrow-minded admonishment on its head.

Minohodoshirazu: Not knowing your place is good, Nike says

The term minohodoshirazu (‘don’t know your place’) is used to bring people with lofty ambitions back to earth. Nike’s interpretation for its new Japan campaign is quite different: From its perspective, not knowing your place is something to be encouraged.

Created by Wieden + Kennedy Tokyo, the campaign aims to encourage Japanese athletes (and ordinary people) to try to go beyond their limits. A 60-second TV spot contrasts sporting achievement with the limiting beliefs that society and schools tend to impose on people. The message is embodied by the football player Ryotaro Ito, runner Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu, basketball player Tomoya Ochiai, and dancer Koharu Sugawara. Their stories as athletes who challenged expectations are presented on Nike’s website.

The work extends to social media, where people are invited to repurpose the term with their own personal examples via the hashtag #minohodoshirazu, and is also supported by out-of-home executions. It is a variation on the theme of a piece of work by the same agency last year for Korea that encouraged students to fight back against crushing academic stress through sport.

Campaign’s view: Being told to “know your place” is not just a problem for individuals—it’s an attitude that can hold an entire nation back. We like that a brand as powerful as Nike continues to recognise social issues particular to individual markets and challenge them without being trite.  


Campaign Japan

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