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Why nothing beats Nike’s ‘Nothing beats a Londoner’

First published on Campaign


A view from Osagie Samuel


The zippy, energetic short was universally acclaimed on release, and rightly so.

The ad that I wish I’d made? How long have you got? Growing up in my house, on the 13th floor of a council tower block, lines from the ads were quoted for fun.


Here’s to you Captain Ahabland on your own moonAccrington Stanley, who are they? (Exactly.) The big orange fella run in from the left and gives him a good old slappingYou get an ’ology you’re a scientist (that last one was my mum’s favourite).


But unfortunately, I can only choose one for this. When a bit of work is so universally acclaimed it almost becomes boring to say how good it is. But fuck it. I’m choosing Nike – ‘Nothing beats a Londoner’.


Countless thought pieces and articles and top 10 lists and awards blurbs have talked about why it’s such a great bit of work on so many levels – script, visuals, music, comedy, performances. And rightly so.


But one of the most important things about this ad is the spotlight it shone on London kids, otherwise misrepresented – or unrepresented – in the media.


‘Nothing beats a Londoner’ captures that mad multicultural melting pot dynamic of our capital, a place where you’ll find council estates next to mansions and kids from different socio-economic, racial and cultural backgrounds united by sport, music and pop culture.


It did it with optimism, a great sense of humour and an energetic style that has seen so many imitators since.


Kids who literally couldn’t give two shits about advertising – I’ve seen their eyes light up talking about this ad. Because it spoke to them. And I’m choosing ‘Nothing beats a Londoner’ as the piece of work I wish I’d made because it spoke to me.


When I saw it, I was compelled to find out as much as I could about the creatives responsible. As everyone should know, Tom Bender and Tom Corcoran were the minds behind it. I later found out they trained at the School of Communication Arts 2.0.


With rebooting my career in mind, I applied to get on the portfolio course at SCA 2.0. And that’s where I met my creative partner Gareth. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, you could say that in a roundabout way this campaign changed my life.


I’m sure I’m not the only one who saw this campaign and had the ambition of one-day making work this spine-tinglingly lively and impactful, awakened (or re-awakened) in them.


I might not come close. But I plan to have a metric fuck-tonne of fun trying.


Osagie Samuel is a creative at The&Partnership.

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