Powerade pulls no punches whatsoever in this spot from Wieden + Kennedy Portland starring 19-year-old amateur boxer and U.S. Olympian Shakur Stevenson.
As an official Olympics sponsor, Coca-Cola can avoid the complex maze of U.S. Olympic Committee regulations preventing businesses from sharing in that international glory. And this week, its Powerade brand turns to Stevenson for the latest chapter in its "Just a Kid" campaign.
The two-minute short film below celebrates the 5-foot-7, 123-pound bantamweight fighter's journey from the streets of Newark, New Jersey, to Rio de Janeiro. Like so many athletes competing in this year's games, Stevenson's story starts in his hometown.
In focusing on Stevenson's upbringing, evidently filled with violence, as a source of strength, the film reinforces the key themes of "Just a Kid," which has also featured such athletes as Derrick Rose and Jimmy Graham, as well as Olympians Claressa Shields and Lopez Lomong.
A preview released last month hinted at these themes, positioning Stevenson's career as a fulfillment of his destiny rather than a personal choice.
"There isn't a match that goes by where I don't pause at least once to think about where I came from and all that I've been through," Stevenson said in a statement. "I'm proud to be just a kid from Newark. The city raised me. I hope this commercial inspires others to believe that with hard work, where you're from and the difficulties you faced will never be a barrier to where you can go and what you can accomplish."
A 30-second version of the film will begin airing during the Rio Games, and Powerade's online store will offer limited edition "Just a Kid from the U.S.A." T-shirts through August, with a portion of the proceeds going to the USOC fund "to support current and future Olympians."
Spot: "The Corner"
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Creative Directors: Max Stinson, Erik Fahrenkopf, Scott Kaplan
Copywriter: Wayne Kasserman
Art Director: Cameron Soane
Producer: Jennifer Fiske
Production Company: Iconoclast
Director: Romain Gavras
Executive Producer: Charles-Marie Anthonioz
Line Producer: Julien Lemaitre
Director of Photography: Rodrigo Prieto
Editorial Company: PS 260
Editor: Walter Mauriot
Post Producer: Laura Lamb Patterson
Assistant Editor: Tyler Hurst
VFX Company: The Mill
Managing Director: Rani Melendez
VFX Producer: Daniel Midgley
Production Coordinator: Courtney Prather, Chris Lewis, Alex Benavente
Shoot Supervisor/Creative Dir.: John Leonti
2D Lead Artist: Bill Higgins
3D Lead Artist: Matt Longwell
Matte Painting: Itai Muller
Colorist: Yvan Lucas / Shed LA
Music + Sound Design: Marco Casanova
Mix Company: Lime Studios
Mixer: Loren Silber