Sport in India has a massive image problem, particularly for women.” So says Mohamed Rizwan, creative director at Wieden + Kennedy India.
This represents an interesting challenge for a client like Nike. “What we set out to do is give it a complete makeover by making it cool, accessible and fun,” Rizwan says. “To that end, we commissioned some of the best image makers and musicians, and got together a crew of women that best represent sport in India right now.”
The result is “Da Da Ding,” a powerful video that unites the talents of rapper Gizzle, director François Rousselet and producer Genera8ion (known for working with M.I.A.).
The music sets a dramatic pace, while a multitude of women reflect the diversity of India and of sport itself: You can run, dance, box, play tennis; the mere act of exertion makes you a member of this team.
Among the ad’s stars are national hockey player Rani Rampal, surfer Ishita Malaviya and Indian film actress Deepika Padukone (a former national badminton player)—a trio the agency calls “the ultimate girl sport squad.”
The spot successfully fuses elements of Indian pop culture—its music, rhythm and beats—to Nike’s carefully crafted universal spirit: It makes mere movement feel revolutionary. In the same way listening to M.I.A. makes us want to rob banks in a convertible, it inspires a weird desire to do reps, or get into parkour.
“Da Da Ding” also doesn’t shy away from physicality: Its depictions of the violence inherent in contact sports follow other sports ads that increasingly remind us women aren’t made of porcelain; we can throw punches—and even bleed—with the best of them.
Nike and W+K have deep roots. All of Wieden’s offices—eight globally—work on the brand, but this ad marks the Delhi office’s debut effort for Nike India since winning the business in 2015. Their exertions don’t stop with a slick, high-energy video; modeling the music industry, they also created album artwork and co-wrote the lyrics with Gizzle.
Elsewhere, photographer Aman Makkar has been tapped to shoot portraits of everyday athletes, national athletes and Nike NTC trainers; and on Instagram and Dubsmash, “girl sport squad” members will upload inspiring workout videos and stories.
According to Nike, “Da Da Ding” recalls sociological evidence that female participation in sports helps self-image, building on a sense of control, competency and strength.
“Everything I am today, and everything I have achieved, comes from my years of playing sport,” says Pakudone, the actress—and former badminton player—in the video.
“My goals, my commitment, my focus, my dedication, my discipline, my sacrifices, my hard work … I’ve learned it all through sport. Sport has also taught me how to handle failure and success. It has taught me how to fight. It has made me unstoppable!”
The photo at the top of this post features (l. to r.) Joshna Chinappa, Shweta Hakke, Rani Rampal, Gabriella Demetriades, Ishita Malaviya, Jaie Bhadane, Deepika Padukone, Naina Mansukhani, Swetha Subbiah, Jyoti Ann Burrett and Tanvie Hans.
Above is Deepika Pakudone, the actress and former national badminton player, whose father is also internationally renowned for the sport.
And this is Rani Rampal, who at 15 became India’s youngest national field hockey player back in 2010.
Client: Nike India
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Delhi
Executive creative directors: Kim Papworth, Susan Hoffman
Creative Director: Mohamed Rizwan
Writer: Ankita Tobit
Art Director: Anyaa Dev
Account Director: Aparna Battoo
Account Manager: Jayaram Shankar
Agency Producer: Deb Drumm
Director of Emerging Markets: Karrelle Dixon
Managing Director: Patrick Cahill
Global Planning Director: Andy Lindblade
Planner: Michelle Arrazcaeta
Global Media Planning Director: Danny Sheniak
Digital Strategist: Amsha Kalra
Production company : Division
Director: François Rousselet
Executive producer: Jules de Chateleux
Editor: Tom Lindsay, Trim Editing
DOP: Matias Boucard
Music: Da Da Ding – Gener8ion, feat. Gizzle (vocals)
Photographer: Aman Makkar