The ‘Iron Nun’ Stars in W+K Portland’s New ‘Unlimited’ Nike Ad

By Erik Oster 

Today W+K Portland launched “Unlimited Youth,” the latest in its “Unlimited” campaign for Nike, a week or so after the “Unlimited Courage” spot starring duathlete Chris Mosier, the first transgender man to compete in the duathlon as part of the national team and less than two weeks since the anthem ad “Unlimited You” made its broadcast debut during NBC’s coverage of the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremonies.

“Unlimited Youth” comes across as an only slightly hyperbolic title given the subject of the spot: Sister Madonna Buder, also known as “The Iron Nun.”

Buder earned that nickname by setting a record as the oldest woman to complete an Ironman in less than 17 hours at the age of 75. She then beat that record the next year, and again at age 79. At 82, Buder, who began training at 48 and completed her first Ironman triathlon at 55, became the oldest person to ever finish an Ironman competition. Buder is now 86 and has completed 370 triathlons, including 45 Ironman competitions.


The spot, for better or worse, continues the voiceover narrator interacting with subject approach of its predecessors. “She’s still active at her age,” the narrator says before adding, as Buder bikes on, “maybe a little too active.” When he expresses his concern that the Ironman competition is “too much” for her, Buder, surely used to such doubts by now, shakes him off, saying, “The first 45 didn’t kill me.”

Like its predecessor, “Unlimited Youth” benefits from the inspiring nature of its subject. Buder is, undoubtedly, a one-of-a-kind phenomenon. While the meta narration approach can be a bit grating at times, it helps that Buder seems to actively resent the condescension and second guessing. The spot is the penultimate offering in the “Unlimited” campaign, with its successor suspected to come on its heels this Wednesday.

But how do you follow The Iron Nun?
PROJECT NAME Unlimited Stories (Unlimited Youth)
FORMAT + TITLE Unlimited Youth
CLIENT CONTACT Ean Lensch, YinMei San, Amber Rushton

Global Creative Directors Alberto Ponte, Ryan O’Rourke
Interactive Director Dan Viens
Copywriter Adam Tetreault
Art Director Sara Phillips
Global Executive Producer Matt Hunnicutt
Senior Agency Producer Ross Plummer
Agency Producer Mauricio Granado
Art Production Amy Berriochoa, Jennifer Spillers
Project Management Christina Kim
Studio Design Manager Alicia Kuna
Studio Designer Rehanah Spence, Edgar Morales
Retoucher Amy Corcoran, Kyle Pero, Saskia Thomson, Greg Radich
Strategic Planning Andy Lindblade, Nathan Goldberg, Brandon Thornton, Reid Schilperoort
Media/Comms Planning Danny Sheniak, John Furnari, Brian Goldstein, Jocelyn Reist
Account Team Chris Willingham, Alyssa Ramsey, Corey Woodson, Anna Boteva, Carly Williamson
Business Affairs Amber Lavender
Broadcast Traffic Stefanie Goodell, Andrea Sierra

Production Company PRETTYBIRD
Director Max Malkin
Executive Producer Ali Brown, Suzanne Hargrove
Head of Production Tracy Hauser
Line Producer Matt Wersinger
Director of Photography Max Malkin
Production Designer Rob Pearson

Editorial Company Rock Paper Scissors
Editor Damion Clayton
Assistant Editor Mike Spagnolli
Post Producer Dina Ciccotello
Executive Post Producer Helena Lee

VFX Company Mill LA
Creative Director
2D Lead Artist Phil Crowe / John Leonti
James Allen
2D Artists John Shirley, Brad Scott, Alex Candish,
3D Artists Andy Wheater, Jie Zhou, Michael Lori
VFX Producer
VFX Coordinator Anastasia von Rahl
Rustie Burris
VFX Executive Producer Enca Kaul

Company Mill LA
Colorist Adam Scott
Producer Diane Valera
Executive Producer Thatcher Peterson

Musical Artist Sandy Nelson
Track Name Drums Are my Beat

Sound Design Company Barking Owl Sound
Sound Designer Michael Anastasi
Creative Director Kelly Bayett
Producer Ashley Benton

Music/Sound/Mix Company Lime
Audio Mixer Loren Silber
Audio Assistant Mark Nieto
Executive Producer Susie Boyajan