Nike's First-Ever 'Just Do It' Ad for Germany Is a Glorious, Sprawling Anthem

Anchored by Hans Zimmer's version of Bowie's 'Heroes'

David Bowie's "Heroes," from 1977, holds a special place in German history. It was written in Berlin during the Cold War, and tells the story of two lovers—one from East Berlin and one from West—whose anguish reflected that of the city at the time. Bowie's performance of the song in the city in 1987 is widely credited for helping to eventually bring about the fall of the Berlin Wall two years later. 

It's the perfect anthem, then, for Nike's first-ever "Just Do It" spot for the German market. Created by Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, it's an epic three-minute piece that tackles the concept of heroism from several angles—suggesting German athletes are pushing society forward while also doing great things in sports. For the music, legendary German composer Hans Zimmer recreated "Heroes" using Bowie's original German vocals mixed with the voices of people representing brave new Germany. 

The spot is remarkably inclusive, featuring athletes like the Paralympic sprinter Léon Schäfer, the female boxer Zeina Nassar and more well-known faces like the soccer star Leroy Sané.

There are political overtones as well. The spot opens with an imposing shot of the Olympiastadion, built by the Nazis for the 1936 Olympics—though it then immediately contrasts that lingering specter of intolerance with the diverse athletes who represent Germany today, or call the country home. Perhaps most notable in that regard is the appearance of the Syrian cyclists Nazir Jaser, Yalmaz Habash, Tarek Al Moakee and Nabil Allaham—who fled their home and are now based in Germany (and who have competed for the Refugee Olympic Team). 

John Hillcoat (whose ad résumé includes the Montefiore Corázon film) directed the piece, titled simply "Helden" (which is German for "Heroes"). The end line is: "Du tust es nie nur für dich" ("You never do it just for yourself"). 

Nike | Just Do It Germany - Helden

Nike says the work is a celebration of sport's power to unite people and a call to all athletes to go beyond medals and trophies and become heroes themselves. It's also intended to keep more younger people in sports—rather than dropping out early, which is a problem in the U.S. as well. 

"We are telling many of these stories in this campaign," the brand says. "From Zeina Nassar, the boxer who changed the rules of boxing so that she and others could wear a hijab in the ring; to Mario Götze who was diagnosed with a career-ending injury but refused to quit. There’s the Syrian National Cycling team who are now refugees in Germany, and riding for a club in Berlin. There’s Turkiyemspor, a club founded to bring the Turkish and German communities of Berlin together. The Nazari sisters, who walked to Germany from Afghanistan to become the future of German skating. All of the people in our film prove that you never, ever do it just for yourself." 

"With 'Du tust es nie nur für dich' we are opening a new chapter for the Nike brand in Germany, celebrating sports," said Sebastian Niemeyer, brand and marketing lead for Nike in Germany. "For today's youth, sport can have a greater meaning than simply competing and winning. It's the power to unite, to inspire and to lead change in their communities that counts. Our sporting heroes fuel this passion on the pitch or track and in communities to unlock sport for the next generation of athletes. Sport becomes a catalyst and you never do it just for yourself." 

Nike offered this information on the athletes featured in the spot: 

Zeina Nassar, boxer

Aside from fighting in the ring, Nassar has also fought to overturn a rule that disallowed women from competing in a head wrap. She won that fight too. Now, all female boxers are free to compete in a hijab. 

Giulia Gwinn, footballer

With her opening goal for Germany on the world's largest stage, Gwinn is giving women's football more visibility and inspires other girls to believe in their dreams and do what they want to do.

Leroy Sané, footballer

Sané is a talented football player and, thanks to his attitude to play free and beyond his football skills, he represents the mindset of a new generation and the future of German football.

Léon Schäfer, track and field athlete

With an iron will and persistence to achieve his dream, Schäfer never takes "no" for an answer. He's taking the best of life – and inspiring others to do so too.

Mario Götze, footballer

Götze became football's chosen one when he scored the winning goal on the world's largest stage at the age of 18. But for the midfielder, football is more than winning. It's about never losing the mental game, and beating doubts to beat opponents. 

Moe Wagner, basketball player

Wagner is the first Berliner ever to be drafted in the NBA after leaving home to play college ball in the United States. His fearlessness in taking risks and steping outside of the system inspires young athletes.

Mobina and Melika Nazari, skateboarders

After the sisters' family fled Afghanistan, Mobina experienced head trauma stemming from a skate session and lost her memory – including her native tongue and the ability to recognize her parents. Her younger sister, Melika, took care of her, reintroducing her to skateboarding as a refuge amidst the lost memories. The sisters' bond shows how sport can help you to get back on your feet.

Gesa Krause, track and field athlete

Five-time German Championship winner and 2000m world record holder, Krause inspires people to go after what you love no matter the circumstances or what others say.

Ariclenes Garcia aka LaQuéfa St. Laurent, dancer

St. Laurent is a 26-year-old dancer and activist who has quickly become a pioneering force in Berlin's voguing scene. By investing his time and money into building a dedicated dance project, he's teaching queer refugees voguing and forms of expression through movement. 

Nazir Jaser, Yalmaz Habash, Tarek Al Moakee and Nabil Allaham, cyclists

These men are the epitome of resilience. All four were decorated cycling champions before war tore their homeland apart. Together with friends and relatives, some of the cyclists made the torturous journey to Europe, taking nothing but their passports, smartphones and a hope to continue their athletic careers. Through perseverance, resilience and an iron belief that sport can change your life no matter where you come from, the four have since returned to competition. 

Türkiyemspor Berlin, inclusive football club

This fall, Türkiyemspor, a Kreuzberg-based football club that is also the largest women's football hub in Berlin, celebrates the 15th anniversary of its women's division. Since the division's founding, the club has transformed the way girls perceive football. Whether it's granting access for girls who would otherwise never be allowed to try the sport, or bringing in girls whose families want them to play in a safe sports environment, Türkiyemspor stands for equality and inclusion. 

Alex Hipwell, coach

Hipwell's unconventional training journey began with dance and evolved to figure athlete competitions. Finding a passion for fitness and personal training after years of dance, she quickly began winning figure athlete competitions on national and international levels. After becoming a certified personal trainer, she partnered with Nike to inspire more women to feel their best. Today, she is a Nike Master Trainer who is committed to teaching others the tools to find strength and self-esteem. 

CREDITS

Nike Germany - Just Do It: Helden (Heroes) 

Anthem Film
Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam
Executive Creative Director: Eric Quennoy, Mark Bernath
Creative Director: Craig Williams, Evgeny Primachenko
Art Director: Jeffrey Lam
Copywriter: Alex Bower
Head of Broadcast Production: Joe Togneri
Executive Producer: Jaime Tan
Assistant Producer: Eline De Roo
Group Account Director: Kathryn Addo
Account Director: Franky Wardell
Account Manager: Margot Paquien
Planning Director: Reid Schilperoort
Planner: Alex Janneau
Head of Comms & Digital Strategy: Dani Pak
Comms Planning Director: Elsa Stahura
Studio Director: Lizzie Murray
Motion Designer: Soren Danielsen
Lead Motion Designer: Gustav von Platen
Studio Artist: Noa Redero
Project Manager: Caroline Kosse
Business Affairs: Michael Graves, Marie Hernandez

Film Production
Production Company: Serial Pictures x Somesuch
Director: John Hillcoat
Director of Photography: Philippe Le Sourd
Additional Photography: Benjamin Loeb
Managing Director: Seth Wilson
Producer: Fran Thompson
Production Manager: Hannah Fowles-Pazdro
Production Designer: Marco Bittner Rosser
Costume Designer: Natalie Humphries
Sports Choreography: Andy Ansah
Service Company: Anorak

Editing Company: Trim Editing
Editor: Ross Hallard, Tom Lindsay
Edit Producer: Tatyana Alexandra 

Audio Post: Grand Central Recording Studios
Sound Designer/Mixer: Raja Sehgal

Music: 
Artist / Title: "Helden" 
By David Bowie 
Written by David Bowie & Brian Eno 
Arranged by Hans Zimmer
Music Company: Courtesy of The RZO Companies, Sony ATV and Universal Music Publishing

Post Production: Glassworks Amsterdam
Flame: Kyle Obley
VFX Supervisor: Kyle Obley
3D: Darren MacPherson, Matthijs Joor
Nuke: Maxence Peillon
Executive Producer: Chris Kiser
Post Producer: Dave Moore

Color Grading: MPC
Colorist: Mark Gethin
Color Assist: Nate Seymour
Executive Producer: Meghan Lang
Color Producer: Diane Valera

Social Films
Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam
Executive Creative Director: Eric Quennoy, Mark Bernath
Creative Director: Craig Williams, Evgeny Primachenko
Art Director : Andrew Watson
Copywriter : Tyler Andre
Film director and editor : Arthur Couvat
Head of Broadcast Production: Joe Togneri
Executive Producer: Jaime Tan
Producer (Social): Stefan Bader, Eline de Roo
Group Account Director: Kathryn Addo
Account Director: Franky Wardell
Account Manager: Margot Paquien
Planning Director: Reid Schilperoort
Planner: Alex Janneau
Head of Comms & Digital Strategy: Dani Pak
Comms Planning Director: Elsa Stahura
Studio Director: Lizzie Murray
Motion Designer: Soren Danielsen
Lead Motion Designer: Gustav von Platen
Studio Artist: Noa Redero
Project Manager: Caroline Kosse
Business Affairs: Michael Graves, Marie Hernandez

Film Production
Production Company: Anorak

Audio Post: Grand Central Recording Studios + Wave Studios
Sound Designer/Mixer: Raja Sehgal + Randall Macdonald 

Music: 
Artist / Title: "Helden" 
By David Bowie 
Written by David Bowie & Brian Eno 
Arranged by Hans Zimmer
Music Company: Courtesy of The RZO Companies, Sony ATV and Universal Music Publishing

Post Production: Glassworks Amsterdam
Flame: Kyle Obley
VFX Supervisor: Kyle Obley
3D: Darren MacPherson, Matthijs Joor
Nuke: Maxence Peillon
Executive Producer: Chris Kiser
Post Producer: Dave Moore

Colorist: Scott Harris

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and the founding editor of Muse by Clio.

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