Ad of the Day: Nike Reaches High and Low in Perfectly Gleeful 4-Minute World Cup Spot

Ronaldo, Neymar and Rooney, but also Kobe and the Hulk

Nike's launch spot for its "Risk Everything" campaign around this summer's World Cup was somber and serious—with the darkness of Jonathan Glazer's direction in some ways running counter to Nike's traditionally lighter treatments of the world's great soccer players.

Now, though, with part two released today, Nike gets its sense of humor back.

The new four-minute film, titled "Winner Stays," from Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., and Rattling Stick director Ringan Ledwidge (in his first major ad job since making the Guardian's "Three Little Pigs"), is just vintage Nike.

Created in the same spirit and style as "Write the Future" from 2010, "Winner Stays" follows much the same formula as that celebrated spot—i.e., stunning action shots expertly offset by comic relief, all woven into a mini-narrative whose momentum builds to a quietly explosive set piece (in both advertising and soccer parlance) at the finale.

It features quite the cast of characters, too.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr. and Wayne Rooney get the top billing, but they're joined by Zlatan Ibrahimović, Gonzalo Higuaín, Eden Hazard, Andrea Pirlo, Gerard Piqué, Andrés Iniesta, Mario Götze, Thiago Silva, Thibaut Courtois and David Luiz (times two). And in a treat for American fans, U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard gets a major cameo, as well.

But the celebs extend well beyond the soccer world, with Kobe Bryant, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Irina Shayk and even the Incredible Hulk making memorable appearances. It all adds up to a freewheeling, joyful spot that manages the rare trick of making some of the world's most elite athletes seem both completely rarefied and yet eminently approachable.

The differences between "Write the Future" and "Winner Stays" are notable, too. Whereas "Write the Future" was all glitz, glamour and high comedy, the new spot is more down to earth, right down to the central conceit introduced in the first few seconds—that these are actually just regular pickup-game players pretending to be their idols.

In many ways, that fits Nike's ethos even better.

"We connect to players' passion for the game, whether it is the world's best in Brazil or players in the park or street," said Davide Grasso, Nike's CMO. " 'Winner Stays' taps into an experience that every young player around the world will recognize—competition with friends and the idea of playing with your heroes, or pretending to be them."

That kind of earthier World Cup, celebrating the everyman, is what Brazil 2014 promises. And this Nike spot sets the table just about perfectly.

CREDITS

Client: Nike

Spot: "Winner Stays"

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.

Creative Directors: Alberto Ponte, Ryan O'Rourke

Interactive Director: Dan Viens

Copywriter: Jeff Salomonsson

Art Director: Sezay Altinok

Agency Producer: Endy Hedman

Production Assistant: Julie Gursha

Agency Executive Producer: Matt Hunnicutt

Head of Production: Ben Grylewicz

Account Team: Karrelle Dixon, Alyssa Ramsey, Ricardo Hieber

Business Affairs: Laura Caldwell

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

Production Company: Rattling Stick

Director: Ringan Ledwidge

Executive Producer: Jen Barrons

Head of production: Joe Biggins

Line Producer: Sally Humphries

Director of Photography: Ben Seresin

Editorial Company: Work

Editor: Rich Orrick

Post Producer: Sari Resnick

Assistant Editor: Eleanor McNaughtan

VFX Company: The Mill

Senior Executive Producer: Sue Troyan

Executive Producer: Gemma Humprhies

Executive Color Producer: LaRue Anderson

Producer: Christina Thompson 

Color Producer: Natalie Westerfield

Project Lead/Creative Director: Tom Bussell

Production Coordinator: Benjamin Sposato and Clare Melia

Shoot Supervisor: Tom Bussell, Austen Humphries and Andrew Wood