By TO411Daily Columnist
The Olympics are not the Super Bowl, or Wimbledon, or The Masters or the World Cup. They’re not even the World Series. The Olympics are their own visceral genre of world hope and glory. They may sometimes be tainted by doping, or questionable genetic engineering (as my friend believes of the 16-year old Chinese swimmer, Ye Shiwen), or bad sportsmanship, or huge national disappointment, yet, the Olympics unquestionably and historically hold a certain gravitas, which sticks in our memories like a gymnast’s dismount.
Therefore, it’s The Brief’s opinion that to advertise on the Olympics means you have to be rigourous with your creative choices. You need that creative endurance to make this your finest moment. Why? Because the world is watching.
The Brief’s results are in:
GOLD: Nike FIND YOUR GREATNESS ”Jogger” – Wieden Kennedy, Portland.
VISUAL: WE FOLLOW JASON, AN OBESE 12-YEAR OLD FROM LONDON, OHIO, STRUGGLING FROM A DISTANCE TO ENDURE A JOG DOWN A COUNTRY ROAD:
AUDIO: Greatness. It’s just something we made up. Somehow we come to believe that greatness is a gift reserved for a chosen few. For prodigies. For superstars. And the rest of us can only stand by watching. You can forget that. Greatness is not some rare DNA strand. It’s not some precious thing. Greatness is no more unique to us than breathing. We are all capable of it. All of us. It is as though NIKE lifted the idea from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.”* Or perhaps, from Martin Luther King who said, “Greatness comes in all people… no matter the color, no matter the race, or no matter how a person looks. Everyone has greatness.”*
It’s with this elegance that Nike’s communication lives up to the greatness of the games to take Gold.
SILVER: RONA “Relay” – Sid Lee – Montreal
VISUAL: A RELAY BEGINS WITH ON A GUY IN A PLAID SHIRT WEARING A TOOL BELT, RUNNING THROUGH THE STREETS OF VANCOUVER AND INTO THE PRAIRIES WHERE HE PASSES THE (BATON) SCREWDRIVER TO ANOTHER MAN WHO RUNS IT THROUGH A FOREST PAST A THREATENING BEAR.
THE RELAY CONTINUES ACROSS CANADA’S VAST AND BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY WITH RELAY RUNNERS DIVING INTO NIAGARA FALLS, TO TORONTO AND MONTREAL. THE FINAL RUNNER HANDS OFF THE SCREWDRIVER TO A GUY ON A FISHING BOAT.
GUY ON A FISHING BOAT: “THANKS, GOT A HAMMER?”
THE RUNNER GRIMACES BEFORE TURNING AROUND TO SPRINT BACK (FOR A HAMMER.)SUPER: NOBODY SAID DOING IT RIGHT WAS EASY.
This campaign wins SILVER for several reasons. It’s funny and it’s glorious to look at. Which is a hard accomplishment, and makes RONA’s campaign Olympic worthy. It also has a hyperbolic idea that stands out like Alex Morgan’s head in at the 123rd minute of yesterday’s Canadian Women’s Soccer game.
BRONZE: VISA “Lopez Lomong” Team Visa Athlete Story – TBWA/Chiat Day – Los Angeles
VISUAL: WE SEE A YOUNG BOY RUNNING BAREFOOT DOWN A DIRT ROAD IMPRINTED WITH A DUSTY MAP OF THE NORTHEASTERN REGION OF AFRICA - RUNNING FROM SUDAN. HE IS LOPEZ LOMONG* RUNNING WITH OTHER LOST BOYS.
CUT TO: 20 YEARS LATER AND WE SEE A CLOSE UP OF AN ADULT LOPEZ LOMONG. COMPETING WITH TEAM USA AT AT THE 2012 OLYMPICS
SUPER: GO WORLD
SUPER: VISA proud sponsor for 25 years
SUPER: facebook.com/visaMORGAN FREEMAN: Lopez Lomong started running when he was six and he didn’t stop – for three days and nights – as he escaped life as a child soldier. Twenty years later he was still running, he just had a different thing driving him. Every step of the way. VISA, proud sponsor of the Olympic games for 25 years. Join our global cheer.
The Brief put VISA on the podium winning Bronze because of its reverence for history, inspiration, and compelling short stories of athletes who overcame adversity to become Olympians. This campaign, made even more Olympian thanks to Morgan Freeman’s narration, launched a Facebook app and other social platforms which allowed fans to record audio, video or simply text cheers for more than 60 Visa-sponsored athletes.* (VISA was able to interact directly with athletes as it was a sponsor.)
Disqualified: P&G. Why P&G didn’t make it to the podium was due to a major deduction: By not including a “thank you” to Dads and only Moms, P&G seems to be reading research from the 1950s. We are, as a culture, long overdue in giving Dads their just wave of applause. They are equal participants who make dramatic sacrifices (even sometimes more than Mom) and should share in the glory of their children. Just look into the audience and you can see how much Dad means to the games. Go Dads!
Please write in and let The Brief know who you would put on the podium. And in the meantime, I hope the Olympics have inspired you to put on your Nikes now and again and “find your greatness.” Speak to you soon.
SOURCES OF INSPIRATION
- William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night (Quote Act II, Scene V).
- ADWEEK/ADFREAK, Visa Spreads Good Cheer in London 2012 Campaign “Send recorded cheers to Visa’s Olympic athletes” by David Gianatasio, http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/visa-spreads-good-cheer-london-2012-campaign 140172
- You can read more about Lopez Lomong here: http://blog.worldvision.org/stories/lopez-lomong-from-sudanese-lost-boy-to-u-s-olympian/