Lululemon's Team Canada Ad Was One of the Triumphs of the Olympics

Droga5 and Natalie Rae's ode to people and place

A number of Canadian Olympians and Paralympians appear in Droga5's "Feel Canada," a hero spot designed to both galvanize Canadian patriotism while conveying something new and unexpected about the country … and Lululemon.

Transformation is the theme here, for brand and country. In a bid to show it does high-quality athletic gear, not just cute yoga pants, Lululemon dressed Team Canada for the 2022 Olympics and Paralympics during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the podium and press conversations.

But "Feel Canada" is also about showing Canada itself is a vast, young space, not so much neutral and unassuming as it is a growing force, seeking definition even as it tries cohering the many different worlds that cohabit it.

Team Canada x lululemon. It’s go time. (Extended cut)

The piece opens by setting the stage, cutting between diverse landscapes—sand, cracking ice—and close-ups of details in a hotel room, which look like landscape, too. Bobsled athlete Dawn Richardson-Wilson walks in, sits on the bed, and lifts her official Winter Olympics 2022 jacket onto her lap. Her quiet examination of its details kicks off both the soundtrack (Hi, where are you from?—Canada…) and spools out the ad, almost as if it's a reverie.

But really, it's an ode to both people and place. We traverse time, through what seem like memories of childhood, and place. Other athletes featured in the spot include Liam Hickey (Para ice hockey), John Tavares (ice hockey), and Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (figure skating).

The list of speakers, puncturing the background, is actually even longer, their diversity and scope illustrating something of the bigness of a country known mostly for maple syrup and a prime minister who, I guess, takes his shirt off a lot:

  • David Suzuki - Environmentalist, science broadcaster and activist
  • Catherine O'Hara - Emmy and Golden Globe awarded actress, comedian and writer
  • Kardinal Offishall - Rapper, producer and record executive
  • k.d. lang - Juno and Grammy winning singer-songwriter
  • Sarah Polley - Actor, writer, director, producer and political activist
  • Susan Aglukark - Juno winning Inuk singer-songwriter
  • Mustafa Ahmed - Poet, singer-songwriter and filmmaker
  • Leonard Cohen - Juno and Grammy winning singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist
  • Jully Black - Juno winning singer-songwriter, producer and actress
  • Nisha Patel - Poet and spoken word artist
  • Paul Poirier - Ice dancer and current Olympic hopeful
  • Katherena Vermette - Red River Metis writer/poet
  • Ian Keteku - Poet, musician and journalist
  • Ann Shin - Filmmaker and writer
  • Chimwemwe Undi - Performance & page poet
  • Autumn Peltier - Anishinaabe Indigenous rights advocate
  • Natasha Kanapé Fontaine - Innu poet & actress
  • Marie-Andrée Gill - Innu/Quebecoise poet
  • Marianne St-Gelais - Olympian and former short track speed skater

"Feel Canada" builds on Lululemon's overall "Feel" campaign. It was given life by director Natalie Rae and DOP Evan Prosofsky. In January, Rae worked with indigenous filmmaker Tim Myles and Toronto-based director Sophia Smith to capture winter footage at the Saugeen First Nations in Southampton, Ontario. Casting and logistics were led by community elder Jennifer Kewageshig, who operates an indigenous youth film program at a local training center she helps run.

Toward the end of the work, the mosaic of voices coalesce as they approach some kind of epiphany. "What we need is a society where people treasure difference," someone says, and moments later, another voice adds, "When we stand together as one, we are one voice and one nation."

People, dressed in the official jacket, dance, hands nearly meeting against the skyline. Richardson-Wilson smiles, lying back in her bed. Water cuts between trees, as if to convey something: This looks like a divide, but isn't. A constellation of elements can compose wholes, not fractions. It's a tension, but also a collaboration that we are forever working on balancing.

"Feel Canada."

CREDITS

Client: lululemon
Campaign: FEEL CANADA
Launch Date: 2/3/22
Agency: Droga5 NY
Co-Chief Creative Officers: Tim Gordon & Felix Richter
Global Head of Art: Alexander Nowak
Executive Creative Director: Thom Glover
Group Creative Director: Marybeth Ledesma
Senior Copywriter: Temnete Sebhatu
Senior Art Director: Joe Russomano
Senior Copywriter: Ted Meyer
Senior Art Director: Jason Gold
Copywriter: Emily Chang
Art Director: Stefan Folio
Senior Project Manager: Janelle Andrea Jordan
Executive Producer, Film: Mike Hasinoff
Executive Producer, Film: Gulshan Jaffery
Senior Music Supervisor: Mike Ladman
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Ann Marie Turbitt
Senior Talent Manager: Sunny Valencia
Group Strategy Director: Cecilia Diaz
Brand Strategist: Sarah Khan
Group Communications Strategy Director: Ben Nilsen
Senior Communications Strategist: Cherish Lee
Executive Group Account Director: Frank Renwick
Account Director: Ola Abayomi
Account Supervisor: Katie Rochford
Account Manager: Arianna Bernstein

Client: lululemon
Chief Brand Officer: Nikki Neuburger
SVP, Global Brand Creative: Ravi Hampole
VP, Global Brand Management: Deborah Hyun
Senior Director, Global Brand Management: Devin Gallaher
Senior Creative Director, Studio: Courtney Davis
Creative Director: Jason Effmann
Creative Director: Sofia Pona
Art Director: Andrew Passas
Senior Brand Manager: Quinn Ingham
Director, Global Brand Marketing: Crystal Rocabado
Brand + Creative Operations: 
Manager of Brand Production: Meryl Rekert
Producer, Brand & Community: Matthew Sy
Senior Project Manager, Special Projects: Bea Sunga
Manager, Brand Project Management: Jen (Anstee) Higgins
Production Company: Object & Animal (US) & OPC (Canada)
Director: Natalie Rae
DOP: Evan Prosofsky
Executive Producer: Emi Stewart & James Cunningham (Object
& Animal), Harland Weiss (OPC)
Producer: Ed Callaghan
Choreographer: Carlo Atienza
Choreography Collaborator: OURO Collective
2nd Unit Director: Sophia Smith
2nd Unit DOP: Ben Dawson
Production Service Company: Filmgroup (Vancouver)
Executive Producer: Nathan Miles
Head of Production: Renee Poulin
Saugeen Shores Production Company: OPC
Co-Director: Tim Myles, Sophia Smith
DOP: Ben Dawson
Executive Producer: Harland Weiss
Producer: Jeff Chiu
Editorial: Work Editorial
Editor (Anthem & Teaser): Ben Jordan
Editor (Athlete Stories): Theo Mercado
Assistant Editor: Fatos Marishta, Chris Wronka
Executive Producer: Erica Thompson
Head of Production: Alejandra Alarcon
Producer: Weston Ver Steeg, Sarah Cassell
Research & Clearances: Tammy Egan (Pitch & Clear)
Melissa Laverdure
Hugh John Murray
Licensing: Mariola Kalinska (Greenlight, BEN
Group)
Post Production, Color: MPC
Colorist: Ricky Gausis
Color Assist: Sam Ziaie
Senior Executive Producer: Meghan Lang Bice
Producer: Ivana Banh
Associate Producer: Alex Zhao
Post Production, VFX: Alter Ego
Head of VFX: Darren Achim
Executive Producer: Hilda Pereira
Senior VFX Producer: Bobbi Dedman
VFX On-Set Supervisor: Shervin Shoghian
VFX Artist: Darren Achim, Igor Boros, Sebastian Boros
VFX Assistant: Saba Zahir, Nupur Desai
Music: 'Clair De Lune' - Flight Facilities feat. Christine Hoberg
Sound: Design & Mix
Ballad
Sound Designer & Mixer: Philip Nicolai Flindt, Adrian Aurelius
Executive Producer: Gregers Maersk Moeller

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Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is a founding contributor to Muse. She is also the co-founder of esports agency Hurrah.gg, and co-author of Generation Creation.

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