Nike was founded as a sneaker company by runners, for runners. A young runner-turned-business student named Phil Knight had an idea for a new way to distribute running shoes, his old coach at the University of Oregon poured rubber into a waffle iron to create a new tread, and together they set the running world on fire.
Soon after, Steve Prefontaine, one of the most prolific distance runners in American history, came through the University of Oregon and helped launch Nike into the stratosphere. There were plenty of moments after that, but the point is: Nike and running have gone step-in-step for the entirety of the company’s history.
Yet, for all the ardent runners out there, there is a significant group of people perfectly content with not breaking a sweat as they move.
These new Nike Joyride ads are for them—and they’re so much fun. The shoe itself is designed to make even the most circumspect runner start stretching. In a series of three spots, that reluctant runner is played by Broad City star Ilana Glazer, and it’s hard to imagine better casting.
The idea came from a new two-person agency based out of Portland called Megs and Shamus. Megs Senk and Shamus Eaton are the two advertising veterans behind the company, and their resumes are a laundry list of big agencies like Wieden + Kennedy, Nike and Saatchi & Saatchi X.
Behind the camera was Marielle Heller, the same director who recently helmed the upcoming Mister Rogers film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. The company may be new, but it’s bringing in significant star power (and a major client) to get started.
Capturing an authentic voice from a renowned actor is difficult for many commercials to pull off. Often, the cameo can feel jammed in purely for a moment of recognition. In these ads, Heller captures the same dialogue that feels right out of a Broad City episode, and Glazer’s delivery sells the spots.
It also helps that Nike wasn’t afraid to let them take some risks. The final spot in the series sees Glazer finally lace up her shoes and even run about a half a block. She’s in search of the runner’s high, that exhilarating feeling that comes with pushing past a point of exhaustion—at least according to my friend who ran cross country in college.
Anyone who has seen an episode of Broad City probably knows where that is going. Glazer gives a nod to “enjoying the high” while the ad finishes on a more PG joke of delivering a “hi” from another passing runner.
In all, this digital campaign succeeds at making running fun for non-runners. Glazer carries the dialogue, and it’s hard not to smile—and have empathy—when watching each of the spots.
Bill Maginnis: Director, Global Brand Communications
Stephanie Derham: Sr. Director, Global Brand Communications
Advertising Agency: Megs and Shamus
Creative Directors: Megs Senk, Shamus Eaton
Art Director: Megs Senk
Copywriter: Shamus Eaton
Executive Producer: Felicia Glover
Production Company: Caviar
Director: Marielle Heller
Director of Photography: Adam Newport-Berra
Executive Producers: Kim Dellara, Jasper Thomlinson, Michael Sagal
Head of Production: Casey Wooden
Producer: Christina Donahue
Post Production/Editorial: Joint
Editor: Tommy Harden
Sound Designer/Mixer: Noah Woodburn
Post Producer: Kathleen Russell
Editorial and VFX Post Producer: Annie Rosick Audio Post: Teenage Diplomat
Composer: Scarlet Newman-Thomas
Color: Company 3
Colorist: Tom Poole