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. 2021; 77(1): 19-36

Nike’s “Dream Crazy”: Exploring discourse tensions in Nike’s seemingly values-laden campaign

Melinda L Farrington.


In its “Dream Crazy” slogan and films Nike leads consumers to believe that it is making a values statement from which consumers may infer, “Nike is taking action to support issues of social justice.” This essay examines how Nike’s “Dream Crazy” slogan and films, featuring Colin Kaepernick and Serena Williams, make it appear as though Nike is engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and/or cause related marketing (CRM) but is not. It then moves on to frame the campaign through two theories rooted in psychology: brand psychological ownership and moral foundations theory. Both help to situate why the campaign resonates as CSR and CRM. Finally, the terms “crazy” and “dream” are examined through the lens of critical discourse analysis.

Key words: Nike, Colin Kaepernick, Serena Williams, brand psychological ownership, moral foundations theory, critical discourse analysis

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