JAKARTA, Indonesia – Nike’s popular “Find Your Greatness” campaign, which encourages ordinary people to achieve personal moments of athletic glory, released a new ad on Friday depicting one of the multinational corporation’s own employees hard at work.
Filmed at a massive sweatshop outside Jakarta, Indonesia, the ad depicts one of the company’s workers relentlessly toiling over a sewing machine for days on end with limited food, water, and sleep, all in pursuit of her dream of producing comfortable Air Jordan sneakers for American buyers.
The employee, Ujang Sethi, is shown being slapped and spit on by her monstrous supervisor, yet she persists in spite of the abuse, bravely laboring her way through her 36-hour shift.
“Greatness is not just for the superstar athletes and factory overseers who make over 100 dollars a year,” Sethi’s voice can be heard saying over a montage of her working. “Greatness is for the 47-year-old mother of nine who will often urinate on herself during her shift because she is afraid she will be beaten if she asks to use the restroom. It’s for the woman who was once making a lucrative 60 cents an hour cutting rubber for soles but was demoted after severing three of her fingers and is now making much less sewing labels onto the tongues.”
She continues: “Greatness is…I’m sorry, what am I supposed to be saying? I am so hungry. Please, Mr. Cameraman, let me have that gum you are chewing. If I eat it, maybe it will satisfy my hunger AND my internal bleeding, and then I will have the strength to…find my greatness.”
The camera then shows her gradually slipping into sleep as the industrial sewing needle inches closer and closer to her mangled hands.
Though the ad was released less than 24 hours ago, human rights organizations are already protesting Nike for exploiting the woman’s efforts for monetary gain. Nike, however, released a statement on its website reassuring consumers that she was given over 36,065 rupiah (USD: $3.52) for agreeing to be filmed.
When contacted by reporters Friday, Sethi explained that while she wished she had earned more money from the globally broadcasted ad, she said that she was now one step closer to finding her own “greatness,” which she described as becoming the worker who sews the little Air Jordan logo on the shoes—a promotion that comes with an impressive eight cent pay raise.