Ad of the Day: Nike Soccer Relives the Birth of a Star in Electric Spot With Blaise Matuidi

French star gets an assist from Earth, Wind & Fire

A single shining moment can inspire a lifetime of greatness. That, at least, is the driving idea behind Nike's new soccer ad, "Spark Brilliance," from Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam.

In it, French player Blaise Matuidi flashes back through his rise to stardom, starting as a young boy witnessing former pro Jay-Jay Okocha land a perfect volley into the back of the net while playing for Paris St. Germain, where Matuidi is now a midfielder.

That sports-idol-spawned montage may sound a little like another Nike ad from elsewhere in the W+K universe. Last year, "Ripple" featured Rory McIlroy training his way through the years to play along Tiger Woods, after seeing and admiring the elder golfer as a child—created by the agency's Portland office.

This spot, if equally heartfelt in its own way, is less somber and more upbeat. In fact, it's almost carnivalesque, with the titular, metaphorical spark visualized as a literal meteoric explosion in a galaxy that's contained inside young Matuidi's eyeball, and the grownup version of him taking on proportions of celebrity well beyond his skills in the game.

He's not just a soccer star—he's a fashion icon and cultural force, whose victory-dance moves on the pitch serve as a source of inspiration for the likes of popular French hip-hop artist Niska.

Overall, it's a fun ad, glued together by an especially on-point choice of background music, Earth, Wind & Fire's "Shining Star." It's not only a perfect lyrical fit for the concept, but has the kind of irresistibly charming groove that in and of itself suggests everything is going to turn out well in the end.

Also, its indomitably happy sound, when coupled with the modern imagery of the spot, doesn't even seem dated, and plays an outsized role in carrying a message—and tagline ("Fais Briller Le Jeu" in French)—that flirts with the kind of enthusiastic naïveté that can be tough to swallow.

To its credit, the ad doesn't shy away from the doses of drilling and running that were also essential to Matuidi's success—the kind of hard work with which McIlroy is also intimately familiar. But the whole ad is infused with the love for play that's at the heart of much of Nike's marketing.

The 90-second spot's true moment of brilliance, though, comes at the end—itself a new beginning—when the camera cuts to another future soccer star, glimmering as he watches Matuidi celebrate a goal.

CREDITS

Client: Nike

Ed Collin: Senior Brand Communication Director, Nike EMEA

Nick Kettelhake: Brand Communications Director, Nike WE

Jean-Luc Bragard: Brand Communications Manager, Nike WE

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam

Executive Creative Director: Eric Quennoy, Mark Bernath

Creative Director: Craig Williams, David Smith

Art Director: Sébastien Partika

Copywriter: Edouard Olhagaray

Head of Broadcast Production: Joe Togneri

Broadcast Producer: Elissa Singstock

Planner: Stéphane Missier

Communications Planner: Josh Chang

Digital Strategist: Greg White

Group Account Director: Kathryn Addo

Account Director: Tim Ryan

Account Manager: Jorge Fesser

Project Manager: Loes Poot

Business Affairs: Kacey Kelley

Production Company: Division Films

Director: Fleur+Manu

Director of Photography: Steve Annis

Producer: Jules de Chateleux

Executive Producer: Jules de Chateleux

Editing Company: Whitehouse Post London

Editor: Russell Icke

Audio Post: Wave Studios Amsterdam/ Grand Central Recording Studios London

Sound Designer/Mixer: Alex Nicholls Lee/ Raja Sehgal

Music:

Title: "Shining Star" (Sebastian Remix)

Original Artist / Remix Artist: Earth, Wind & Fire (Remixed by Sebastian)

Publishing & Master Recording: Sony/ATV & Sony Music Entertainment

Remix : Ed Banger Records

Postproduction: Glassworks Amsterdam