Droga5's "After Hours Athlete" commercial for Puma, which won the Grand Prix in Film Craft at Cannes last month, really was a finely tuned piece of work. Set in the bars, bowling alleys, ping-pong halls and karaoke clubs of an indistinct city, it followed a group of hip (but not too hip) young night owls—amateur athletes in the ultimate semi-pro sport of nightlife—from dusk until dawn, celebrating their victories, smiling at their defeats, all to the sounds of a lilting string symphony and gruff, poetic voiceover. Certainly a worthy spot to be called the year's most expertly crafted.
Now, we get this sequel, "Pump Up." Same agency, different director—Pulse's thirtytwo, stepping in for Smuggler's Ringan Ledwidge. Gone as well are the music and the voiceover. In their place, the young partiers themselves provide the soundtrack—by chanting the familiar "Everywhere We Go" call-and-response fight song, with the lyrics reworked to pay tribute to their own late-night exploits. The settings are similar to the original spot—bowling alley, darts and pool halls, falafel truck, city taxis. Rather than a :90, this spot is a :60, and there's no dusk or dawn—it's a series of after-dark vignettes with no real beginning or end.
But while the visuals are similar, the whole tone is different. Despite the endless grinning and posing, the previous spot had an oddly melancholy air—the heroism being found in the intensity and commitment of the characters' pursuit of fleeting moments gone by sunrise. The new spot is the exact opposite—macho, even frat-boyish, and self-aware. By singing their own praises, the characters embrace the semi-absurd premise, which doesn't feel quite right. They're not athletes; they're just out for a night on the town.
Any overly faithful sequel to "After Hours Athlete" might have felt like a retread. But this one loses the thread of the original to such a degree, it doesn't feel much like Puma at all. It feels like Nike doing Puma.
Spot: "Pump Up"
Agency: Droga5 New York
Creative Chairman: David Droga
Executive Creative Director: Nik Studzinski
Executive Creative Director: Ted Royer
Copywriter: Tim Gordon
Art Director: Amanda Clelland
Head of Integrated Production: Sally-Ann Dale
Agency Producer: Ben Davies
Associate Producer: Sarah Frances Hartley
Strategy Director: Ben Jenkins
Executive Producer: Candice Chubb
UK Producer: Neil Andrews
Production Company: Pulse
Director of Photography: Matthias Koenigswieser
Editorial: Final Cut
Editor: Jeff Buchanan
Assistant: Sonejuhi Sinha
Executive Producer: Stephanie Apt
Producer: Viet-An Nguyen
Post Production: Absolute
Executive Producer: Sally Heath
Line Producer: Mitch Stockwell
Flame Lead: Jonathan Box
Assist: Betty Cameron
Colorist: Ben Eagleton
Sound: Sound Lounge
Mixer: Keith Reynaud
Mixer: Evan Mangiamele
Assistant: Sasha Awn