Nike and Wieden Hit the Grid

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Nike - 'Push'
Nike - 'Push'
Fantasy football? It is for one Briscoe Hawks receiver, who awakens to an alternate universe where gridiron legends are sweating along with him in Wieden + Kennedy's latest spot for Nike, which debuted early this week after a run in theaters. The spot, directed by MJZ's Rupert Sanders, stars Ryon Williams, a real-life Los Angeles-area high school player, as he goes through a two-a-day, a rigorous summer double practice to condition players for the upcoming season. The weird part, though, is his crew: the NFL's Michael Vick, Brian Urlacher and LaDainian Tomlinson, any of whom are big enough to dominate a Nike spot individually. "The scary thing with working on Nike is when you do work with one athlete you have to center on that person; this one was almost beyond apprehensive, we had like 14 celebrities on the spot. Somehow it almost helped everyone relax," says art director Ryan O'Rourke. "They were able to hang out with each other, and in a way they sort of loosened up." Between takes Vick, Urlacher and Tomlinson—the three principal players—were hitting golf balls, joined later by rookie Matt Leinart, "the new kid" dismissed by the guys in the spot as "nobody."

The familiar team environment with coaches and a practice field also kept things manageable. "In the part where Don Shula is giving his speech obviously he gave a longer speech, all the pro athletes were humbled and in awe," says copywriter Dylan Lee. Legendary Miami coach Shula's staff, Florida's Urban Meyer and former Dolphin quarterback (and Hawks namesake) Marlin Briscoe—all were part of the creative team's vision for the ultimate high school team. "You start spinning out, who would be the janitor in my high school, who would be the equipment manager, who would be the assistant coach," O'Rourke says. Of course, with Jill Arrington and Deion Sanders as mom and dad and Steve Young tossing the morning paper, the possibilities are infinite. Look for more installments following the Hawks through the developing season.
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