A Surly Soccer Ball Helps Nike Boot Bullying From the Game

Brand's latest 'Play New' film from W+K

A surly, scruffy soccer ball, dented and soiled from constant play, rants like the most toxic coach of all time in the latest "Play New" spot from Wieden + Kennedy London.

"Oi, you! Sit down, shut up and listen 'ere! You need to get a few things in your head if you're going to make it in this game, alroight?" it snarls like a crazed Michael Cain. "First of all, you've gotta be greedy. I'm looking for that nasty streak. You don't ask, you take. You're either the star of the show—or a loser!"

This ball's whole bag is abuse, its playbook packed with macho clichés. And the ridicule just keeps rolling.

Nike | Toxic Football

"Now you get out there! You bully 'em!" the ball shouts, its filthy face scrunched up in anger. "Nice guys finish last!!"

Many viewers will cringe at such outmoded displays of misguided masculinity. Thankfully, Manchester United and England star Marcus Rashford—a passionate advocate for racial justice and social change—arrives in the end, booting the ball to infinity. (Maybe that ornery orb would have a better attitude if players didn't kick it in the head all day long!)

Nike earns points for delivering a timely message without getting preachy, memorably evolving its "Play New" platform, which seeks to redefine sports, movement and exercise for young people everywhere.

Previous series entries include this 22-minute documentary about a young man who takes up high-diving to gain self-confidence, and a celebration of elite athletes Sabrina Ionescu, Dina Asher-Smith, Blake Leeper and others failing miserably at unfamiliar sports, but learning from the experience.

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