Ad of the Day: Nike Soccer Relives the Birth of a Star in Electric Spot With Blaise Matuidi

French star gets an assist from Earth, Wind & Fire

A single shining moment can inspire a lifetime of greatness. That, at least, is the driving idea behind Nike's new soccer ad, "Spark Brilliance," from Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam.

In it, French player Blaise Matuidi flashes back through his rise to stardom, starting as a young boy witnessing former pro Jay-Jay Okocha land a perfect volley into the back of the net while playing for Paris St. Germain, where Matuidi is now a midfielder.

That sports-idol-spawned montage may sound a little like another Nike ad from elsewhere in the W+K universe. Last year, "Ripple" featured Rory McIlroy training his way through the years to play along Tiger Woods, after seeing and admiring the elder golfer as a child—created by the agency's Portland office.

This spot, if equally heartfelt in its own way, is less somber and more upbeat. In fact, it's almost carnivalesque, with the titular, metaphorical spark visualized as a literal meteoric explosion in a galaxy that's contained inside young Matuidi's eyeball, and the grownup version of him taking on proportions of celebrity well beyond his skills in the game.

He's not just a soccer star—he's a fashion icon and cultural force, whose victory-dance moves on the pitch serve as a source of inspiration for the likes of popular French hip-hop artist Niska.

Overall, it's a fun ad, glued together by an especially on-point choice of background music, Earth, Wind & Fire's "Shining Star." It's not only a perfect lyrical fit for the concept, but has the kind of irresistibly charming groove that in and of itself suggests everything is going to turn out well in the end.

Also, its indomitably happy sound, when coupled with the modern imagery of the spot, doesn't even seem dated, and plays an outsized role in carrying a message—and tagline ("Fais Briller Le Jeu" in French)—that flirts with the kind of enthusiastic naïveté that can be tough to swallow.

To its credit, the ad doesn't shy away from the doses of drilling and running that were also essential to Matuidi's success—the kind of hard work with which McIlroy is also intimately familiar. But the whole ad is infused with the love for play that's at the heart of much of Nike's marketing.

The 90-second spot's true moment of brilliance, though, comes at the end—itself a new beginning—when the camera cuts to another future soccer star, glimmering as he watches Matuidi celebrate a goal.

CREDITS
Client: Nike
Ed Collin: Senior Brand Communication Director, Nike EMEA
Nick Kettelhake: Brand Communications Director, Nike WE
Jean-Luc Bragard: Brand Communications Manager, Nike WE

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam
Executive Creative Director: Eric Quennoy, Mark Bernath
Creative Director: Craig Williams, David Smith
Art Director: Sébastien Partika
Copywriter: Edouard Olhagaray
Head of Broadcast Production: Joe Togneri
Broadcast Producer: Elissa Singstock
Planner: Stéphane Missier
Communications Planner: Josh Chang
Digital Strategist: Greg White
Group Account Director: Kathryn Addo
Account Director: Tim Ryan
Account Manager: Jorge Fesser
Project Manager: Loes Poot
Business Affairs: Kacey Kelley

Production Company: Division Films
Director: Fleur+Manu
Director of Photography: Steve Annis
Producer: Jules de Chateleux
Executive Producer: Jules de Chateleux

Editing Company: Whitehouse Post London
Editor: Russell Icke

Audio Post: Wave Studios Amsterdam/ Grand Central Recording Studios London
Sound Designer/Mixer: Alex Nicholls Lee/ Raja Sehgal

Music:
Title: "Shining Star" (Sebastian Remix)
Original Artist / Remix Artist: Earth, Wind & Fire (Remixed by Sebastian)
Publishing & Master Recording: Sony/ATV & Sony Music Entertainment
Remix : Ed Banger Records

Postproduction: Glassworks Amsterdam
Flame: Morten Vinther (Head of 2d) Kyle Obley (VFX Sup/ Flame)
3D: Rudiger Kaltenhauser
Telecine: Daniel de Vue
Producer: Anya Kruzmetra, Christian Downes

Partner Agencies:
Media Agency: Mindshare Paris
Digital Agency: RGA London