With the Olympics in full swing it comes as no surprise that the inner competitor within all of us is emerging. From my own experience I've been trying to improve the time on my 5k runs. The desire for improvement, particularly in sports should never stop.
Sport is the ultimate game and I think it reflects Life. Wieden & Kennedy (W+K, Portland) have captured this in their latest advert, which depicts an athlete jumping and dodging obstacles as though it was a computer game. The aim of the commercial is to showcase Nike's new training platform, which helps you track and measure your workouts so you can compete and compare your performance with your friends around the world. I think the timing of this campaign further bolsters the purpose of the Olympics and the spirit of global competition.
Sequences of the advert reminded me of a variety of gaming classics (Super Mario being one of them). I think they used this approach to target the young generation of 20s to 30s because of their easy acceptance of innovation. I also think Nike and W+K tailored the creative direction to briefly teleport the audience back to their childhood memories of Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive in order to pull at the heart strings.
Recently, Nike have been releasing a few innovative products, one of them has been the Nike+ Fuel Band. With their latest addition to the product line, one can clearly see that Nike sees innovation and technological progression as an essential element to the advancement of sport and personal fitness. It is clear that Nike recognise this an another avenue for them to differentiate their products. This explains why pioneering innovation comes across so strongly in the advert.
From a critical standpoint I was quite concerned by the fact that the baddies in the advert were black. I'm not someone that focuses on colour, but this was quite plain to see. The sight of this led me to ask, why couldn't the baddies be evil purple penguins from outer space? One understands that there is limited time too communicate the commercial message, but I'm sure there were alternatives that could have enhanced the message of the campaign. I personally think this approach was lazy and Hollywoodesque. I highlight this point because I strongly believe that advertising plays a huge role in cultural formation and individual perception. It would be naïve to think otherwise.
Apart from the slight tastelessness of the depiction of a baddie I do think this advert is fantastic and captures the importance of innovation, the competitive spirit and the inherent need for all of us to want more and do better.