Ad of the Day: Nike Launches ‘Risk Everything’ Campaign Ahead of the 2014 World Cup

Jonathan Glazer directs Neymar, Ronaldo and Rooney

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It's a World Cup year, which means only one thing for soccer's major international stars. They're about to feel an almost unbearable amount of hellish pressure.

Nike—which isn't a World Cup sponsor but always creates plenty of marketing around the tournament, just without naming it as such—has often focused on the psychic stresses of soccer superstardom. Its famous 2010 World Cup campaign, "Write the Future," was at least as much about the terrors of failing on the sport's biggest stage as it was about winning it all.

Now, Wieden + Kennedy has launched its first World Cup 2014 spot for Nike. Directed by Jonathan Glazer, it carries a variation on the same pressure-cooker theme. This time the message is: "Risk everything."

The 60-second spot below shows Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, Brazil's Neymar and England's Wayne Rooney preparing for the World Cup under intense pressure to perform well. In each case, the player is seen grappling with the idea of not measuring up. Who else but Ronaldo can carry Portugal? Can Rooney finally score a World Cup goal for England? Is Neymar worthy of Brazil's fabled No. 10 shirt?

A pair of Beats by Dre headphones would probably help each of these guys get in the zone. But since that's out of the question, they have to march to the beat of Ronaldo's footsteps—until, at the end of the spot, they can jog toward the field.

"The expectations—from a nation's hopes to the historic power of a shirt—are massive, but these are players who thrive on that responsibility," says Davide Grasso, Nike's chief marketing officer. "These players play on the edge because they know great moments usually spring from attempts to try something out of the ordinary. Think about Zlatan's overhead kick last year, or Rooney's goal last weekend. Those moments do not occur without fearless risk-taking."

Unlike "Write the Future," which was extremely witty in parts, this first "Risk Everything" ad is exceedingly somber—right down to the "Risk Everything" logo, which is a skull with the swoosh carved into its forehead and a flaming die and soccer ball on either side.

Luck, skill, hope, death. Let's just hope these three guys make it out alive.


Client: Nike

Project: "Risk Everything"

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy

Creative Directors: Alberto Ponte / Ryan O'Rourke

Interactive Director: Dan Viens

Copywriter: Rick Herrera / Jeff Salomonsson

Art Director: Stuart Brown / Johan Arlig / Sezay Altinok

Producer: Andy Murillo

Executive Agency Producer: Matt Hunnicutt

Account Team: Karrelle Dixon / Alyssa Ramsey / Ricardo Hieber

Business Affairs: Karen Crossley

Executive Creative Directors: Mark Fitzloff / Susan Hoffman / Joe Staples

Production Company: Reset (representing Academy)

Director: Jonathan Glazer

Executive Producer: Simon Cooper / Jeff McDougall

Line Producer: Simon Cooper

Director of Photography: Barry Ackroyd /  Alex Barber

Editorial Company: The Quarry and Rock Paper Scissors

Editors: Paul Watts / Mark Whelan

Post Producer: Shada Shariatzadeh

Post Executive Producer: Carol Lynn Weaver

VFX Company: The Mission

VFX Supervisor: Rob Trent

Flame Artist: Jan Cilliers

VFX Producer: Diana Cheng

Music+Sound Company: Original music by Squeak E Clean

Composer: Original music by Squeak E Clean; Justin Hori, Creative Director

Sound Designer: Johnnie Burn / Stephen Dewey

Producer: Carol Dunn for music

Mix Company: Barking Owl

Mixer: Brock Babcock

Producer: Whitney Fromholtz

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.