Science in Sport Explores the Agony and Ecstasy (Mostly Agony) of Competition

The Tour de France takes a heavy toll

Hurts so good? 

Nutrition brand Science in Sport explores the agony riders endure at the Tour de France in ads that broke last week. There's no ecstasy on display. No cheering crowds, trophies or post-race celebrations. The focus is entirely on struggle and discomfort. Though, presumably, challenging oneself in the grueling competition provides its own reward.

Striking monochrome photography and minimalist copy weigh the heavy toll, on both body and mind, for cyclists in the 23-day, 2,200-mile event. Naturally, SIS positions itself as a helpful teammate, ready to replenish and refresh as entrants swerve and strain to complete each punishing stage.

The work achieves an austere elegance. Though bleak and brutal, a severe beauty seeps through, like droplets of sweat, as we behold the passion and sacrifice on display.

This approach feels a world away from recent category tropes, such from Gatorade's nostalgic pop-culture celebrations and Propel's f/x-driven excursions.

It most closely resembles Floda's trail-running foray. But that one, though gritty, tossed in some humor. SIS peddles a harsher path, while suggesting that its products, formulated for elites, can help players across all levels of endurance sports.

Hey, it's fuel for thought.

"We're delighted with this campaign, that highlights the pain, suffering and sheer physical effort that the Tour de France demands," says Matt Lee, ECD at M&C Saatchi, which developed the campaign. "And we're even happier that we'll never find out how that feels."

Roger that. Let's hit the couch!

Ads will appear in print, OOH and social channels, with event activations and partnerships planned.


Creative agency: M&C Saatchi London
Executive Creative Director – Matt Lee
Creative Leads – Jon Farley and Alex Lucas
Lead Designers - Jon Muddell and Neil Sharp
Business Director – Anna Heracleous
Account Director – Katie Mandel
Producers - Kelly Sands and Matt O'Neill

Advertise With Us

Featured Clio Award Winner



The best in creativity delivered to your inbox every morning.