WATCH: Eerie Nike Ad Campaign Depicted March Madness as a Pandemic


In March of 1999, Nike released an ad campaign ahead of the NCAA Tournament. Little did they know how relevant said commercial would feel 21 years later.

The initial commercial - which was rediscovered by AdAge - features hazmat workers quarantining all of Duke University, seemingly because fans have caught March Madness. It can be watched above.

Just over two decades later, there isn't an NCAA Tournament - or any other sporting events - because the country is largely quarantined due to the spread of COVID-19 around the United States and the world.

The most incredible thing is that the ad, which features a giant pile of shoes burning, isn't meant to promote a new shoe, but just to prepare fans for March Madness. In that sense, it's different from today, because it's hard to imagine Nike producing a full-length commercial in 2020 without the attempt to sell a product or promote one of its major athletes. Other than that, the ad feels all too real in these scary times.

The second ad in the series features blood being taken from Duke's Steve Wojciechowski and an unnamed North Carolina player and being inserted into lab rats that are put in the same testing container. The two rats aren't shown once injected, but the ad leaves you with the feeling that there wasn't much left to show after the Duke rat and the North Carolina rat fought with each other:

The third commerical in the set shows doctors desperately trying to figure out what's wrong with an incubated North Carolina fan:

The final commercial in the series features a worker rediscovering one of the pairs of shoes that had been burned in the initial commercial years later. This seems to suggest that even though doctors believe they have banished March Madness, it will return the following year.

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