NEW YORK Nike, in collaboration with 72andsunny, has produced "To the Next Level," a two-minute film directed by Guy Ritchie that mixes pulse-pounding music and gritty on-field imagery with shots of glamorous off-field nightlife.
The goal, so to speak, is to give soccer-obsessed fans a taste of for what it would be like to be discovered on the field and selected to play for English Premier League team Arsenal and battle against some of the world's top players.
Nike wanted to avoid creating a campaign "to celebrate athletes just for the sake of celebrating athletes," said Glenn Cole, co-founder of 72andsunny.
Launching this week, the spot runs through the European Championships, which get underway in June.
The spot's edgy style is intended to capture both the glamorous and ugly aspects of making it on the field.
Said Cole: "If we were going to get you really close to all of the collective fantasies -- which is what would it be like to have Cristiano Ronaldo running at you full speed with the ball -- that would be f-ing scary. And how do we capture that? Who would be able to help us capture that in a way that doesn't become overly sentimental -- approachable but still has the hard edge depicting what life is at that level? Only a few directors did come to mind."
The commercial takes a multiplatform approach. In addition to being shown on television around the world, it lives online at the Nike Web site.
Cole noted that several versions were shot to appeal to the various regions it plays in, offering a more personal feel. For example, Latin American players are amplified in the versions offered throughout Latin America.
Online, fans can register to sign up for an elite training program. Part of that will include some mobile applications that will help fans dig deeper, he said.