Fake news is a thing, so why shouldn’t there be fake ads? Thanks to Nike and artist Ava Nirui, there is. This week, in honor of the Air Max sneakers’ 30th anniversary, Nike tapped Nirui and frequent collaborator, Alex Lee, to create a series of ads and customized kicks.
Sarcastic and sometimes dark, the promos are both hilarious and rife with political social commentary, referencing race, unity, capitalism and commerce. Reimagining Nike classics in nine different ways, Nirui and Lee paired the shoes with subversive imagery that riffs on the brand’s signature slogans, creating the perfect mix of social consciousness and escapism—if you can’t avoid reality, you can try to outrun it.
“I think it’s both hard not to touch on the political climate,” said Lee, “but also important to address it whenever you can. We like to do it in ways that are sometimes subtle or less direct, but we still both agree that if you’re going to make things, they should probably say something meaningful.”
“We don’t like to be too direct with our messaging, but rather, open it up to whoever’s viewing the piece,” Nirui explained. “Of course, some of our pieces allude to something that may be happening in the world right now, but we don’t believe in shoving our opinions down people’s throats—if you get it, you get it and if you don’t, move on.”
View the duo’s radical Nikes, above.