Throwback Thursday continues!

This week: OKRP CEO, Tom O’Keefe – See more at:

Maybe it’s the holiday season, but I’m feeling particularly nostalgic.  So, this week I’m going to break form and pick a throwback that’s not comedic.  This spot is about as far from funny as it gets.

Back in the day (the 90’s) Nike commercials were events – like a new Scorsese film or U2 album.  Each one breaking some new ground visually or graphically – while always paying off their Mount Everest of a tagline:  Just Do It.

And as breathtaking as that was, the star of these spots was the music.  Nike did things musically in their advertising that nobody else dreamed of pulling off – including using two John Lennon compositions, “Revolution” and “Instant Karma.”

But no licensed track moved me more than the original score behind this spot.  Titled, “There Is No Finish Line”, the score is a single, unaccompanied piano composed and played so as to be both incredibly isolating and uplifting.  The signature melody returns at just the right moment.  It lingers a few notes too long before letting go, almost ending and rising again at the end – a nod to the spot’s “never finish” message.

If there’s a better piece of original music in any commercial, I’d like to know what it is.

Of course, as was typical with everything Nike put out back then, it created a cottage industry of copycat versions, attempting to sell everything from Mini Vans to cat food.  Each came complete with its own subtle, tear-jerking anthem – each one failing to achieve Nike’s perfect note.  I know this for a fact because Matt and I tried to rip it off for a Sears commercial.  But I’ll save that for another Throwback Thursday.