Ad of the Day: Puma

Droga5 crafts an odd sequel to its Grand Prix-winning 'After Hours Athlete' spot

Droga5's "After Hours Athlete" commercial for Puma, which won the Grand Prix in Film Craft at Cannes last month, really was a finely tuned piece of work. Set in the bars, bowling alleys, ping-pong halls and karaoke clubs of an indistinct city, it followed a group of hip (but not too hip) young night owls—amateur athletes in the ultimate semi-pro sport of nightlife—from dusk until dawn, celebrating their victories, smiling at their defeats, all to the sounds of a lilting string symphony and gruff, poetic voiceover. Certainly a worthy spot to be called the year's most expertly crafted.

Now, we get this sequel, "Pump Up." Same agency, different director—Pulse's thirtytwo, stepping in for Smuggler's Ringan Ledwidge. Gone as well are the music and the voiceover. In their place, the young partiers themselves provide the soundtrack—by chanting the familiar "Everywhere We Go" call-and-response fight song, with the lyrics reworked to pay tribute to their own late-night exploits. The settings are similar to the original spot—bowling alley, darts and pool halls, falafel truck, city taxis. Rather than a :90, this spot is a :60, and there's no dusk or dawn—it's a series of after-dark vignettes with no real beginning or end.

But while the visuals are similar, the whole tone is different. Despite the endless grinning and posing, the previous spot had an oddly melancholy air—the heroism being found in the intensity and commitment of the characters' pursuit of fleeting moments gone by sunrise. The new spot is the exact opposite—macho, even frat-boyish, and self-aware. By singing their own praises, the characters embrace the semi-absurd premise, which doesn't feel quite right. They're not athletes; they're just out for a night on the town.

Any overly faithful sequel to "After Hours Athlete" might have felt like a retread. But this one loses the thread of the original to such a degree, it doesn't feel much like Puma at all. It feels like Nike doing Puma.

CREDITS:

Client: Puma

Spot: "Pump Up"

Agency: Droga5 New York

Creative Chairman: David Droga

Executive Creative Director: Nik Studzinski

Executive Creative Director: Ted Royer

Copywriter: Tim Gordon

Art Director: Amanda Clelland

Head of Integrated Production: Sally-Ann Dale

Agency Producer: Ben Davies

Associate Producer: Sarah Frances Hartley

Strategy Director: Ben Jenkins

Executive Producer: Candice Chubb

UK Producer: Neil Andrews

Production Company: Pulse

Director: thirtytwo

Director of Photography: Matthias Koenigswieser

Editorial: Final Cut

Editor: Jeff Buchanan

Assistant: Sonejuhi Sinha

Executive Producer: Stephanie Apt

Producer: Viet-An Nguyen

Post Production: Absolute

Executive Producer: Sally Heath

Line Producer: Mitch Stockwell

Flame Lead: Jonathan Box

Assist: Betty Cameron

Colorist: Ben Eagleton

Music: Human

Sound: Sound Lounge

Mixer: Keith Reynaud

Mixer: Evan Mangiamele

Assistant: Sasha Awn