Simone Biles and Powerade Urge Athletes to Take a Break for Their Mental Health

The power of rest and self-care

If Simone Biles can't assure athletes it's OK to take a time-out from the grind of practice and competition to focus on their well-being, maybe no one can.

Citing mental-health issues, the champion gymnast famously skipped some events at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Now, Biles joins other sports greats for a Powerade initiative touting self-care, rest and reflection as essential to winning, both on and off the playing field.

Developed by Publicis Groupe and timed to March Madness, "Pause Is Power" rocks a lighthearted vibe that helps deliver its serious message in breezy style.

We open on Premier League soccer coach Antonio Conte, who kicks back in a comfy recliner, telling his players, "We are missing pauses." They think he means "passes," but Conte makes his point in the end:


As the :60, directed by Stink Films' Traktor, unfolds, British gold-medalist diver Tom Daley and his squad do some knitting to unwind. A football squad takes a break with a rainy-day ballet, and former NBA standouts Chris Webber and Jason Williams pause on a pickup court to celebrate their mad shot making.

Conte's a hoot, and he pops up to knit a sweater with Daley. No stranger to steals, Antonio almost upstages Biles—but not quite.

She shines by bailing on her stressful day and heading out for a manicure. "Sometimes, you gotta stop to be an actual human," she explains to a goat seated next to her in the salon. (Think G.O.A.T., people.)

Simone gets the last word, too, sweetly encouraging a fledgling gymnast after the kid stumbles mid-routine. "You'll get it tomorrow," Biles says. Such simple wisdom puts everything in perspective.

"We push ourselves hard physically and emotionally to achieve our dreams but if we are not our best mentally, then we are not maximizing our full potential," Biles says in a blog post. "I want to help encourage everybody to be kinder to themselves, because that's when we're at our strongest and we can achieve the most."

Coca-Cola-owned Powerade also launched a Press Pause Contest, with 20 grand prizes of $10,000 each to help student athletes recharge in the off-season.

That aspect recalls Arby's contest for college running backs, but a brand rep says this campaign "goes beyond NCAA NIL. Today's generation of athletes is rewriting the rules of winning and pushing back on the toxic sports culture perpetuated by a 'win at all costs' mentality. In pausing to be human first, we come back stronger than we were before. We believe it's a message that not only resonates among athletes, but for all people living in today's high-pressure world."


Client: The Coca-Cola Company

Global Hydration Category President: Matrona Filippou
Global Advanced Hydration Sr. Director: Claire Pinel
Global Creative Strategy Director: Islam ElDessouky
Global Sr. Creative Content Manager: Laura Legrenzi
North America Active Hydration Director: Jeffrey M Fitch
North America Sr. Creative Content Manager: Shevon Williams
North America Senior Brand Manager: Tarek Metwally
Global Producer: Elsa Casadevall
Global Producer: Maria Silva
Global End to End Sr. Director: Mariano Moro

Agency: A Publicis Groupe Power of One offering drawing from creative and production teams across Publicis Italy, Publicis Mexico, Leo Burnett Chicago and Digitas NY. 

Global Chief Creative Officer Publicis Worldwide: Bruno Bertelli
CCO: Diego Wallach (Publicis Mexico)
CCO: Britt Nolan (Leo Burnett Chicago)
ECD: Sam Shepherd (Leo Burnett Chicago)
Creative team: Jason LaFlore, Matt Turnier, Katie DiNardo, Kelley Barret, Leo Varela, Darío Rodríguez, Julio Cerón (Leo Burnett Chicago & Publicis Mexico)
Chief Strategy Officer, North America: Young Lee (Digitas NY)
VP, Strategy director: Allie O'Shea (Publicis NY)
VP Group Director, Creative Strategy: Jess Friedman (Digitas NY)
Global Client Lead: Lorenza Montorfano (Publicis Italy) 
Group Account Director: Mirjana Slavkovic (Publicis Italy)
Account Supervisor: Elisa Tanganelli (Publicis Italy)
Senior Client Partner: Tiya Fazelbhoy (Publicis Groupe)
SVP, Account director- US: Michael Barclay (Leo Burnett Chicago)
Account Supervisor- US: Vejurnae Leal (Leo Burnett Chicago)
Vice President Strategy: Adrian Sutherland (Publicis Sports and Entertainment)
Chief Experience Officer: Matt Marcus (Publicis Groupe)
VP, Director of celebrity services: Peggy Walter (Leo Burnett Chicago)
Transformation Practice Lead, Global: Claire Molyneaux (Publicis Groupe)
Senior Director, Global Business development: Leah Schneider (Publicis Groupe)
Global Media lead: Major Steadman (Publicis Groupe)
Head of Communications and PR: Lizzie Dewhurst (Publicis Groupe)
Global PR and communications manager:  Julie Foulet (Publicis Groupe)
Creative awards Director: Alice Staite (Publicis Groupe)
EVP, Head of Production: Mike Davidson (Leo Burnett Chicago)
EVP, Executive Producer: Ashley Geisheker (Leo Burnett Chicago)
Senior Producer: Sara Martin (Leo Burnett Chicago)

Production: Stink Films
Director: TRAKTOR
DP LOS ANGELES: Rachel Morrison
DP LONDON: Alex Barber
Editor: Matthew Wood (Whitehouse Chicago)
Color Grade: Harbor NY
Finish: Framestore Chicago
Audio Mix: Another Country
Photographer: Neil Dacosta

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