Ad of the Day - 10/28/09
These days, a 60-second commercial (on the rare occasions when you see one) can seem as long as Ivan the Terrible Part 1 plus Ivan the Terrible Part 2. As such, perhaps the most notable achievement of this 60-second spot for Nike's Jordan brand (via Wieden+Kennedy) is that it seems to go by so quickly. That's all the more remarkable since the visual elements of the spot are largely the familiar stuff of athletic-wear commercials -- athletes working out, practicing, getting frustrated, slamming a piece of equipment (or, at moments, a teammate), practicing some more. But it's all put together here in a way that gives it a sense of drama, building up to the moral (stated by a coach we see addressing his team) that "You gotta work hard to win.
"The rapid shift from one sport to another (lots of football, some basketball, a bit of baseball) could have been distracting or confusing, but the viewer instead has a sense of peering beyond the varied surfaces of different sports to perceive the inner drive one needs to "Become Legendary" (as the campaign's motto puts it) in any sport.
And that, I think, is a crucial part of why the spot works. It isn't simply celebrating the people we see on the screen here. After all, our patience in this era for watching other people being celebrated is pretty limited. The spot also implicitly flatters the viewer for his (or her -- but more often his) connoisseurship of athletic intensity, from the noisy bluster on a team bus to the silent concentration of a Derek Jeter. --Mark Dolliver