About writing the Impossible is Nothing manifesto.

IIN Vert mantra MEDIUM SIZE GOOD FOR SQU SP

Nope. Sorry internet. Muhammad Ali didn’t write this. I did.

 

Muhammad Ali was a singular, iconic, inspiring, and brave athlete, activist, and poet. It is sad that he has passed away, but it’s wonderful that the world is revisiting all of his accomplishments and what he stood for. He was right. He was the greatest. And he said a lot of smart, funny, inspiring, and just plain badass things. However, this is not a Muhammad Ali quote. The Impossible is Nothing manifesto was a long copy ad for Adidas, written to introduce the Impossible is Nothing campaign. I know because I wrote it.  

In real life, I am a copywriter. Like Peggy and Don on Madmen. I was working at TBWA\Chiat\Day (a partner agency to 180 Amsterdam) on the global adidas account, and it was my job to write a manifesto to help sell the “Impossible is Nothing” tagline and campaign, (which written by Boyd Coyner) to adidas. If it sounds like Ali could have said it, it should. I knew he was the hero athlete for the campaign, so I was writing something that had to fit with that iconic photograph of him towering over Sonny Liston. And lead into Boyd’s amazing tagline.

I’ll be honest with you. I was brushing my teeth, thinking about the tagline, and the “big word small man” phrase came to me and it wrote itself from there. I went in to work that morning, my boss said “we need a manifesto,” I sat down to write, and I handed it over to him before lunch. Sometimes that’s how writing happens. But it never happens like that without a great idea first. Boyd’s “Impossible is Nothing” was the idea. My bosses knew that was the idea we had to sell. Everybody knew that was the idea to sell. We just needed the rest of the words to sell it. So I wrote them.

I’ve been hesitating writing anything about this because, well, it’s tacky. But on the other hand, I haven’t stood up for myself enough over my career. (Maybe because I’m a woman, and we’re taught to see THAT as tacky. Or bitchy. Or both.) This ad wasn’t entered into any advertising award shows. The TV got recognition, (remember Laila Ali boxing Muhammad Ali?) but not the print or outdoor, which is what this was. Nobody in the industry even knows that I wrote this, unless they know me. And now that it’s getting more and more “internet famous,” I’m in a really weird spot. Muhammad Ali is getting credit for my work slash people believe my words came out of his mouth. That. Does not. Suck. That is incredibly flattering. On the other hand, my work is famous, but my name is invisible. In an industry that is all about publicity. So what’s an AdWoman to do? I’ve been doing nothing. But both doing nothing and doing something have their drawbacks. So what I’m doing is now something in between: I’m writing this, here, where all of five people will see it.

I mean, call me crazy, but it would be nice if my name came up in a search associated with the Impossible is Nothing manifesto. (It doesn’t.)  It would also be nice if ESPN, Sports Illustrated,  People Magazine, USA Today, , Business Insider, Goodreads, The Daily Mirror, and even David Beckham (who also had those words on a picture of HIM in the SAME CAMPAIGN!) (btw, it also ran on images of Laila Ali) did more than a google image search when researching things they’re calling quotes.

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Anyway.

Muhammad Ali had his own way with words. He lived impossibilities. He gave no fucks in the bravest fashion. He was bigger than a person. He was an idea.

What’s my favorite Ali quote? I don’t know. 1. because there are so many and 2. I really don’t want to misquote or miscredit. But, this is on the official MuhammadAli.com and they should know:

“I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.” -Muhammad Ali

That seems to have been his personal manifesto. Not everyone can say the first part. I can’t. But the second part, that belongs to everyone. Everyone can say that. Everyone should.

R.I.P. G.O.A.T.

Thanks for reading.

-Aimee Lehto Schewe

Current obsession: Short sleeved sweatshirts

Ever since I saw those two short sleeved men’s Nike sweatshirts in January, I’m all about it. I don’t own one, but I really want one. Even though I kind of suspect you have to be a string bean to really rock one the right way…We shall see. We shallllll seeeeee…

Oh, and I did try #2 from Everlane, but it didn’t fall right on me. It hit at the hip and folded instead of hanging/ swinging.

  1. L.L.Bean 2. Everlane 3. Kanye West for A.P.C. 4. J.Crew 5.Nike 6. Everlane 7. Nike      8. Nike 9. Adidas by Stella McCartney 10. Adidas

Winter workout wear likes.

OK you guys. I forgot to tell you about a pair of Old Navy leggings that don’t suck. This is big, because they all suck. Unless you are skinny and have no cellulite. (Thin can wear cheap.) Even then, the quality is pretty suck-town. EXCEPT FOR THESE:

The Go Warm High Rise Compression Legging. They are neither super thick, nor super squeezy, despite their name. But they DO go up to the waist and the dark-on-dark stripe is pretty flattering, camouflage-y, and not see-through. I hate lined leggings, so these (plus leg warmers) are my winter walking pants. Also, they’re like $26. Boom.

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In other news: Lucy’s new stuff is pretty cute. They’ve stepped it up. Their jackets in particular are a little different. Avoid the crowd at Lulu, hit up Lucy, and you’ll probably have something that the rest of the studio sorority doesn’t have. I’m talking to you, twenty women I saw at the mall yesterday with LuluLemon bags…LuluLemmings.

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OK. I admit these photos I pulled from the Lucy website are not that mind-blowing. But if you’re by the store, swing in. They’re better in person.

I was also in Dick’s this weekend. And Nordstrom. And Athleta. And LuluLemon. (My husband got Lasik so I was killing a lot of time in the mall-type area near the Lasik office waiting to pick him up.)  Overall, my impression is this: every main stream fitness line has become more stylish. None of them are pathetic anymore. Nike has tons of cute, longer, more flattering cuts this year. Under Armor has better colors, new patterns, etc. Calia is still way too much product, but it’s all quite pretty. Lulu’s always good. Athleta and Lucy have caught up. Adidas, I’m sad to say, seems to be lagging way behind, though. (Except for the Stella McCartney and adidas originals stuff, of course. That shits always hot. Just their training clothes are lame.)

I have to not buy things for a bit, but if I were in buying mode this weekend, I would have bought these in a hot second.

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I still kind of need this sweatshirt. I’m still thinking about it two days after seeing it. If I win the powerball, I’ll go get it. 😉 Or if you win, send me one.

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Nike

I’d like to visit the world where this camo makes you disappear!

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Nike

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Under Armour

Um. Hello, Nick Cave soundsuits + Yayoi Kusama polka dots! I would love to look like a trippy muppet. Awesome!