Living rooms. Kitchens. Bedrooms. Corridors. Basements. Driveways. These are the personal arenas and playing fields that millions visit every day to stay fit, burn off nervous energy and maintain a sense of mental and emotional well-being as the COVID-19 crisis drags on.
Nike fetes such athletes in a new :60 developed with Wieden + Kennedy Portland. Propelled by a slowly building symphonic track, the moody film mixes photos of folks keeping active at home with images of empty stadiums, while understated on-screen copy delivers an empowering message:
"We may not be playing together," the ad says, "We may not be playing for our countries yet. We may not be playing for giant crowds. But today we're playing for 7.8 billion people."
It concludes: "This is our chance. Play for the world."
The spot's somewhat somber, stripped-down approach captures just the right vibe. Nike acknowledges the sad loss of virtually all organized sports activity, while saluting those who keep the faith by pumping iron, logging laps and practicing their moves in isolation.
Understated and quietly defiant, the ad suggests that athletes the world over—and by extension, all of us—will ultimately triumph, in no small part through the audacious power of our collective spirit. All that's missing, really, is a "Just do it" tag at the end.
Nike introduced its "Play for the World" platform last month with tweets by superstars such as Michael Jordan, Serena William, Cristiano Ronaldo and Tiger Woods. As part of its pandemic response, the company has donated $15 million to relief efforts and offered premium workout and fitness content from its Training Club app free of charge. Last week, Nike sent $1.6 million to help local organizations providing food and medical care during the crisis.