Naysayers Motivate Young Athletes by Calling Them Lazy and Undeserving in Campaign for IMG Academy

Droga5 created the inspiring spots

Young athletes are fueled by negative comments about their work ethic. YouTube: IMG Academy

Kids today are lazy, unmotivated and have everything handed to them. They want to be praised and rewarded, but don't want to do any of the hard work. You might think that, but IMG Academy's latest campaign showcases highly driven aspiring athletes who will prove that all of those thoughts you had about young people are completely wrong. 

IMG Academy—a sports academy designed to improve athletic performance for all types of athletes, from high school students to the pros—in partnership with Droga5 released its latest campaign with the hopes of driving applications for the school and summer camps across all sports, from tennis to football.

But the academy isn't looking for just anyone to train at its facility, located in Bradenton, Fla. It wants underdogs. It wants young men and women who will practice rep after rep until the sun goes down and the lights in the gym go off because they've never had anything handed to them and they won't start now. 

"These are kids in charge of their own destinies, writing the lives and the futures they want," Nick Phelps, global alliance director for Droga5, said. "We wanted something that came from their voice, something that operated as a rallying cry, but also encapsulates what they get from IMG Academy—the skills and facilities to allow them to grasp whatever futures they desire."

The "Tomorrow is Ours" campaign leverages the partnership between Droga5 and the global sports talent management company William Morris Endeavor, a partnership which dates back to 2013 when Droga5 sold a 49 percent stake to WME. In the past, Droga5 has leveraged its partnership with WME and IMG to put faces like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in one of its Under Armour campaigns.

The latest campaign includes a two-minute film featuring student athletes practicing late at night, all alone. Sound bites of people discussing how young folks have a poor work ethic and are lazy play in the background. The campaign also includes shorter films focused on individual sports and individual athletes. Rather than playing sound bites of negative comments, the individual spots are paired with inspiring quotes from the athletes themselves about training to perfect their craft.

"I don't think I've taken a day off from baseball in five years. I definitely cannot sleep at night knowing that there's other people out there getting better than me, cause I want to be the best," one player says.

The work from Droga5 feels similar to past work for Under Armour—a combination of the Gisele Bundchen "I Will What I Want" campaign and the most recent work featuring the U.S. women's gymnastics team—however this time around it's focusing on the next generation of high-caliber athletes. "Working with an educational establishment was a fresh challenge for our strategy and creativity," Phelps said.

The work also stands out for focusing on the next generation, not those that have already found their success. Using the insight that students at the academy idolize the best athletes in the world, but also idolize the ones who've overcome obstacles and defied the odds to achieve their success, Droga5 made the strategic decision to look forward.

"So many schools face backwards, talking about their history or when they were established. Why shouldn't an educational establishment own the future, not the past, and be proud of being at the absolute cutting edge of their industry with the very latest facilities and program?" Phelps added.

Agency: Droga5 NY
Creative Chairman: David Droga
Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer
Executive Creative Director: Duncan Marshall
Copywriter: Lincoln Boehm
Art Director: Joel Francke
Chief Creation Officer: SallyAnn Dale
Head of Broadcast Production: Ben Davies
Senior Broadcast Producer: Anders Hedberg
Global Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer
Group Strategy Director: Aaron Wiggan
Senior Strategist: Ben Brown
Senior Communications Strategist: Hillary Heath
Global Alliance Director: Nick Phelps
Account Manager: Josh Freeland
Senior Project Manager: Courtney Kosup

Client: IMG Academy
Sr. VP, Chief Business Officer Events & Media: Sam Zussman
Sr. Vice President and CoManaging Director: Chip McCarthy
Sr. Vice President and CoManaging Director: Greg Phillips
Vice President Sales and Marketing: Chris Ciaccio
Director of Marketing: Michael Adams
Assistant Director of Marketing: Dan Tierney
Creative Services Manager: Barry Klipp
Marketing Manager: Jen Brown

Production Company: Smuggler
Director: Miles Jay
Partner: Patrick Milling Smith
Partner: Brian Carmody
Executive Producer: Drew Santarsiero
Head of Production: Andrew Colon
Producer: Patti Getker
Director of Photography: Steven Annis
Production Designer: Jason Hougaard

Editorial: Final Cut
Co-Editor: JD Smyth
Co-Editor: Chris Rizzo
Executive Producer: Sarah Roebuck
Head of Production: Jen Sienkwicz

Post Production: Significant Others
VFX Artist: Betty Cameron
VFX Artist: Dirk Greene
Producer: Alek Rost

Sound: Significant Others
Mixer: T. Terressa Tate

Composer: Rob Simonsen

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