Nike, HIV Runner - Ric Muñoz


Richly shot, this commercial follows real-life, openly gay athlete Ric Muñoz of Los Angeles as he runs through a park.

Text tells us "80 miles every week. 10 marathons every year. HIV positive."

It ends with the familiar "Just do it" tagline and the well-known swoosh logo.

The advertisement is the first and only commercial by a marketer so far to actually use HIV/AIDS as a theme. Nike could have easily been criticized for insensitively using the disease to sell sneakers. Instead, it was widely acclaimed. But no other marketer has dared try this territory again.

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User Comments
This is all very fine and well as a warm and fuzzy feel good ad; but, the elephant in the middle of the room is the fact that more and more people are engaging in unsafe acts because they think "AIDS does not make you sick," a fallacy which this ad -- loudly, clearly, and in no uncertain terms -- validates. I question the notion of visibility here, because they're trying to say that the impact of HIV in his life is invisible. How can we impress the importance of using protection upon a generation coming of age thinking that unsafe is OK, when we prop up role models of HIV survivors with the message that 'AIDS is no big deal'?

Lorraine Latta
I'm so glad to find this ad available online! Ric Munoz is truly an inspiration and can teach us all something about courage, optimism, dedication and spirit. Kudos to Nike for recognizing this fact!

Bravo to Ric Munoz for being an openly gay athlete and for doing this commercial! You make it easier for others to come out.

Fredrick Bertz
All I can say is that I hope Nike and Mr. Munoz do a 10 year update on this ad. Maybe the copy could be: "Completed 140 Marathons. Completed the Boston Marathon 12 consecutive years. HIV Positive X Years. Just do it," with film of Mr. Munoz running next year's Boston Marathon.

Ric Muñoz
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for including the HIV Runner ad in your fine gallery of ads--it's always nice to be remembered (the ad is over 6 years old!).

I am indeed, still running. That's always the first question I get
when someone hasn't seen me in a while, "Still running?" At the time the HIV Runner ad appeared in Feb. '95, I had run just over 70 marathons. That total has now grown to 131, the most recent of which was April's Boston Marathon (a race I've completed for 11 consecutive years). I've also graduated to the longer distances, i.e., distances longer than the marathon's standard distance of 26.2 miles. I've managed just six of
those, the distances thus far being 50 miles (three times), 56 miles
(twice) and my longest race to-date, 62 miles, that came in the fall of 99.

Of all the ads they've produced, it's been very clear to me over the years that the HIV Runner ad is one Nike is especially proud of. The ad went out of circulation a few months after its intial airing and went on to be aired in Great Britain and Japan after the U.S. run ended.

I'm thrilled and honored to be a part of your fine retrospective of ads. I'm glad you thought the HIV Runner ad was worthy of inclusion!