TBWA\Chiat\Day Brings Usain Bolt’s Origin Story to Life for Gatorade

By Erik Oster 

TBWA\Chiat\Day teamed up with Moonbot Studios (who you may remember from such animated spots as “The Scarecrow” for Chipotle) to create a Gatorade short telling the origin story of Jamaican runner Usain Bolt

The spot, entitled “The Boy Who Learned to Fly,” opens with Bolt’s mother telling him he’s going to be late for school. For a boy of normal speed, she would probably be right, but Bolt sprints off, scoring a goal in a pickup soccer game and impressing a track coach on his way to class, sliding into his desk just before the bell rings. Said track coach becomes Bolt’s mentor, providing him with lunch (which he forgot in his haste to leave his house in the morning) in exchange for winning a race and then informing him of his potential for greatness and what it will take to get to that point.

From there, the spot flashes forward to the 2002 Junior Championships and the increasing pressure put on Bolt to win.

It’s a fun approach, with the imaginative and colorful animation matching its tone.


Aside from a Gatorade poster as Bolt walks down the tunnel into a track field at the beginning of the spot, the Gatorade brand doesn’t make an appearance until almost the five minute mark, when a modern day Bolt is handed a Gatorade bottle by a water boy. The spot really plays more like a branded short than an ad, with Gatorade aligning itself with the likable Jamaican track legend.

Maybe that’s for the best, as the lack of more overt branding certainly helps keep things light, enjoyable and shareable for both kids and adults while still gelling nicely with the larger “For the Love of Sport” campaign. As proponents of brevity, we do wonder if this story could have been told in a slightly shorter format (the spot runs almost six minutes long). That being said, it doesn’t drag nearly as much as you’d expect given the run time. Check out the making of short below for more on how “The Boy Who Learned to Fly” came together.

Client: Gatorade
Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles
Production Company: Moonbot Studios
Senior Vice President, General Manager: Brett O’Brien
Senior Director, Consumer Engagement: Kenny Mitchell
Director of Digital Strategy: Jeff Miller
Manager, Digital Media: Abhishek Jadon
Senior Director Sport and Athletic Services: Jeff Kearney
Sports Marketing: Kyle Grote
Sports Marketing: Aminah Charles
Chief Creative Officer: Brent Anderson
Executive Creative Director: Renato Fernandez
Creative Director: Mark Peters
Senior Copywriter: Cyrus Coulter
Senior Art Director: Paulo Cruz
Director of Production: Brian O’Rourke
Executive Producer: Guia Iacomin
Senior Producer: Stephanie Dziczek
Producer: Cristina Martinez
Print Producer: Gabriella Nourse
Art Producer: Gabrielle Sirkin
Managing Director: Jerico Cabaysa
Brand Director: Robyn Morris
Brand Manager: Erika Buder
Associate Brand Manager: Theo Kirkham-Lewitt