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Nike Releases a Commercial That Sends A Powerful Message to the Youth Of South Korea

by Czarelli Tuason / Sep 03, 2015 02:56 AM EDT
Lee Young Pyo at the MLS match in 2013

Nike South Korea has released a 90-second commercial as part of its "Just Do It" campaign for the country's youth. The News Section of the company's website has published an article with the short clip featuring Lee Young Pyo, South Korea's soccer star, playing different roles in multiple scenes. These include a painter, a weather forecaster as well as referees and coaches who tell the athletes to give up.

Lee, dressing as a soccer referee, says, "It's just one, big distraction."

"Think about getting a job instead," he comments, portraying a crossing guard, to a group of young runners under the pouring rain.

"Just do what everyone else does," Lee says, dressing as a delivery guy.

However, the young athletes continue, unfazed. To this, Lee remarks as a ring announcer, "But you don't listen anyway. Do you?"

An article by Mashable five days ago notes that the wisdom of South Korean elders is highly regarded and that giving encouragement might come off as a way of spoiling. Hence, older people often result to giving young people reminders that they've fallen short. The discouragements in the video, then, are a hard-hit on the emotions of the nation's youth.

Nike's latest "Just Do It" campaign actually sends out a message to ignore voices that pull their spirits down.

At the end of the commercial, each of the athletes finally succeeds in their respective fields - e.g. spiking a ball through the net, perfecting a bike exhibition - and makes Lee smile in approval.

"In today's Korea, kids are taught that education is the way to success," Lee comments.

"Go to school, do your homework, get a career - stay on path. They are told conformity is the only way, but sameness can lead to stagnation," 

"I know how hard it can be to focus on sport when you feel so much pressure to study long hours to be great in school," adds Lee. "With my voice and others' I hope kids will demand their rights to play."

The "Just Do It" campaign encourages young athletes to record and post motivational stories with the hashtag - #JustDoIt.

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