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

Headshot of Tim Nudd

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.


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

Lead Senior 2D Artist: John Shirley

Colonel Muster/CD: Andrew Wood

Colorist: Adam Scott

Design: Kyle Moore and Greg Park

2D Artists: Grant Connor, Peter Hodsman, Siro Valente, Jonathan Westley, Zoe Cassey, Frank Hanna, Gary Driver, Joseph Tang, Tim Davies, Adam Labert, Brad Scott, Olivia O'Neil, Patrick Heinen, Patrick Munoz, Eleanor Risdon, Ben Smith, Daniel Thursesson, Jake Maymudes, Martin Karlsson, Cameron Smither, Gianluca Di Marco, Andy Godwin, Zoe Cassey-Hayes, Paul Downes, Georgina Ford, Scott Wilson  

3D Artists: Tom Raynor, Adam Droy, Adam Darrah, Phillip Maddock, Edward Hicks, Paul Donnellan, Charlotte Akehurst, Arthur Larsen, Sergio Xisto, Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Graham, Mathew Fuller, Anthony Northman, Jake Flint, Hartwell Durfor, Danny Yoon, Michael O'Donoghue, Marta Carbonell, Fabrice Le Nezet, Margaux Huneau, Vasilis Pazionis, Lucy Luong, Jake Flint, Anthony Northman, Andy Wheater

Hulk VFX Company: Luma Pictures

Executive Supervisor: Payam Shohadai

VFX Supervisor: Vince Cirelli

Senior VFX Producer: Steven Swanson

Commercial Executive Producer: Vicki Mayer

VFX Producer: Michael Perdew

Animation Supervisor: Raphael Pimentel

CG Supervisor: Richard Sutherland

CG Supervisor: Pavel Pranevsky

Digital FX Supervisor: Justin Johnson

Design Supervisor: Loic Zimmerman

Look Development Lead: Jared Simeth

Character TD Supervisor: Thana Siripopungul

Senior FX TD: John Cassella

Lead Digital Coordinator: Catherine Hughes

Technical Coordinator: Daniel Kepler

Model, Texture: Dulshan Keragala / Cosmin Hrincu/ Safari Sosebee, Oded Raz

Animator: Alon Helman, Marcos Romero

Lighter, Compositor: Satoshi Harada, James Waterson, Alex Cancado, Joey Sila, Joe Censoplano

Roto, Paint Supervisor: Glenn Morris

Lead Roto, Paint: Jessica Bakke

Roto, Paint: Cameron Sorgi, Marcel Caue Martins, Prin Nimmannitya, Garrett Wycoff

Sound Company: Formosa Group

Sound Designer: Julian Slater

Sound Producer: Branwen Prestwood Smith

Song (if applicable): "Miss Alissa" Eagles of Death Metal

Mix Company: Lime Studios

Mixer: Rohan Young, Loren Silber

Producer: Susie Boyajan

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