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How do you make an ad about invisibility?
It's an absurd idea, particularly for a sports ad. Sports is about performance and the ultimate visibility of battle. Not someone receding from view.
Yet the best ad of 2016 pulled a remarkable disappearing act, taking one of the world's most famous athletes and dramatizing his solitude, his pain and his sacrifice away from the spotlight. And it did so with a haunting beauty that wrapped the hardship in romance, illuminating the athlete's love of a sport whose cruelties have also brought fame, fortune and 28 Olympic medals.
Under Armour's brief to Droga5 in late 2015 was simple: Explore the rigors of training through the lens of Michael Phelps ahead of his final Olympics in Rio.