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Nike’s Pro Hijab merges message with brand

A lot has been said about Nike’s introduction of the Pro Hijab, the company’s first hijab designed for athletes.

Set against the current political background the announcement was always likely to be polarizing, inspiring both #boycottNike, and #Believeinmore. But what has Nike itself been saying?

Let’s take a look at the language used in the press release.

The company is launching “a performance hijab similar to Nike Pro’s other products: inconspicuous, almost like a second skin.”

“Inconspicuous” strikes me as an interesting and very deliberate language choice here. In this day and age, wearing a Hijab is highly conspicuous – and something that anyone with a Twitter account feels entitled to air extreme opinions about. And, of course, “almost like a second skin” is a striking simile, aligning the garment and the body in one single expression.

“By providing Muslim athletes with the most groundbreaking products, like the Nike Pro Hijab, Nike aims to serve today’s pioneers as well as inspire even more women and girls in the region who still face barriers and limited access to sport.”

Here we’re firmly back in Nike’s wheelhouse of messages around barrier-breaking and pioneering athleticism, with the kind of simple, authoritative language that we have long associated with the brand. By aligning the product so clearly with the company’s goals and mission, it’s positioned as a logical next step. That sense of naturally we would do this is reinforced through the naming – “Pro” sets the Hijab in a family with other popular products.

We’re also moving away from the what, the product, to the why, the impact this will have on the ability of women and girls to access sport and overcome barriers – a mission that everyone should be able to get behind, no matter your opinion of the Hijab itself.

Even for a press release, which tends towards less branded language, this one is stamped with Nike’s unique verbal identity. It feels authentic and committed – exactly the tone that needed to be set to guide how the launch should reported.

What can your learn for your own press release writing?

  • Brand can help!
    Set your news in the universe of your brand. Infusing a press release with your company’s unique messages and language (even if you can only bring yourself to go Verbal Identity Lite) brings the experience of your brand to your news.
  • Don’t forget the why.
    Though the purpose of a press release is to communicate the WHAT, the most compelling element is the WHY.
  • Write to a person.
    Humans read press releases, not some nebulous entity, The Press.


Senior Verbal Identity Consultant