Nike: write the future

I know everyone in the WORLD has seen this by now, and I would imagine that everything there is to be said about it has been said. But I just had to post about it because of the sheer exuberance of the thing. As a friend of mine @NeillSBullet said: ‘that ad just made me REALLY excited about the World Cup. Can’t wait!’

Yes, once again, Nike (and Wieden+Kennedy) have got their advertising on the button. They’ve used their roster of star sponsorships (even crossing over to their basketball properties) to great effect. And they’ve managed to squeeze two concepts into one ad.

First, footage of sublime skills. It’s the direct, Ronseal approach. What better way to promote football’s showcase than with showcase football? So far, so easy, so been done before.

Second, a wonderful imagining of the alternative futures that flash through different players’ minds before they decide on a course of action in the game. The beauty of this is how the creatives have managed to get across the personalities (or at least public perception of the personalities) of the different sportsmen. So Rooney is the humble, down-to-eath player that the public can identify with. His thoughts turn to the possibility of failure and that’s what motivates him to his show of gritty determination and unbending will. Failure is not an option. He is the embodyment of the way the English play football, the embodyment of a nation, even, if you’ll forgive the hyperbole, invoking Churchillian reisitance: we’ll never surrender! Ronaldo on the other hand is the ego-driven rock-star, his motivation the adulation of a nation, erecting of statues in his honour, appearences on the Simpsons. His perceived arrogance is clear: it’s all about him. Ronaldinho’s sequence is all about flair, partying, fun, style. It embodies his personality, but also the football style of his team and the (admittedly cliched) global perception of Brazil as a nation. Samba!

But talking about it almost detracts form the effect of watching the thing: it’s just a party of a video, a celebration of everything that’s great about the World Cup. And Neill was right. For the first time this year I feel really excited about the prospect. Roll on June!

This post originally appeared on my company blog, here.


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