Siya Kolisi, who captains South Africa's national ruby squad that beat England in last year's World Cup final, headlines "Ready for Sport: the Anthem," a powerful minute-long film from Adidas that reflects on the deeper meaning of sports as various leagues reboot worldwide.
"Look, sport might not be the answer right now," Kolisi's narration begins. "But it teaches us this: that impossible challenges must be faced and overcome. And the reward is joy—and it will always be that way."
The spot uses sports as a prism to consider the human condition. The opening shot of a black fist raised against the sky, with a police helicopter hovering in the distance, reminds us that some finish lines remain far from sight. But sports provide lessons of discipline and perseverance. They build dignity and character to help make us winners over the long haul, on the playing field and beyond.
"Now that sport is back, don't waste these chances," Kolisi says. "Play with more heart, even more fire, and hope that does not end. Seek out what scares you, and let your body do what it loves."
He speaks over footage of Paul Pogba scoring a winning goal, Noah Lyles racing to the finish line, Caroline Dubois sparring in the ring, and scenes of other professional and amateur athletes rising to the occasion.
"Nobody knows what the future holds," Kolisi concludes. "Nobody knows what will come our way. So, honor every breath and respect every chance. Opportunities will come, and you must be ready."
The man grew up impoverished, and he's made a point of giving back and speaking out for social justice, so his words really resonate.
"We chose Siya to narrate the film because his story serves as a reminder that sport has the power to bring hope, and he is the true embodiment of how maintaining focus can lead to greatness," says Florian Alt, vp of brand communications, global brands, at Adidas.
Created by Iris, the spot follows Adidas' "Ready for Sport" digital content series. Released piecemeal over recent months, those films, each a minute or two long, focus on the backstories of stars such as Candace Parker, Leo Messi and Patrick Mahomes. They explore themes of resiliency, inner strength and dedication in the face of Covid-19 and various forms of discrimination.
Along with that offering, Adidas and Iris have produced several notable spots during the pandemic, including this intense meditation on canceled competitions around the world and an uplifting look at how the brand's Olympic hopefuls are prepping for the rescheduled Tokyo Games.
Client – Adidas
Lead strategic & creative agency – Iris
Executive Creative Directors – Henry Scotland, Rachid Ahoiuyek
Creative Director – Gabi Mostert
Creative – Eve Anthony
Designer – David Missen
Strategy Director – Rory Natkiel
Managing Partner – Nico Tuppen
Group Account Director – Simone Botherway
Agency Producer – Annabel Singer
Agency Producer – Emily Hendrey
Production Company – POPs Production
Director – Gabi Mostert
Editor – Kevin Palmer
Editor – Andy Sowerby
Editor – Jamie Rathbone
Editor – Iain Finlay
Editor – Adam Beasley
Editor – Danny Carlyle
Post Production – POPs Production
Audio post-production – GCRS