As global creative directors on Nike at Wieden & Kennedy, Messers. O'Rourke and Ponte were responsible for the brand's "Find Your Greatness" campaign centered around the Olympics. Nike was not an official sponsor, so International Olympic Committee regulations restricted it from celebrating the professional athlete's journey to the games. "In a way, the restrictions became our advantage -- we had to do something different," said Mr. O'Rourke.
As the timing coincided with the launch of Nike's Fuel Band, aimed at non-professional sport, the team decided to make heroes out of everyday athletes. Spots such as "Jogger" (which featured an overweight boy running on a country road) struck a chord with Olympics fans, with many referring to Nike's having successfully ambushed the games.
"Viewers were so prepared to celebrate the greatness in others during the opening ceremonies that it was refreshing for them to hear at that moment, 'Hey, you can be great, too,'" said Mr. O'Rourke. The pair are Nike and Olympics veterans: Mr. Ponte has worked on the games for eight years, including the 2004 Olympics, while Mr. O'Rourke has worked on Nike since 2010 as well as on Procter & Gamble's Winter Olympics "Proud Sponsor of Moms" campaign.