The company got viewers buzzing with a commercial, with the tagline "More Go," for its Shox NZ that is designed to have the look and feel of a televised British soccer match. As sportscasters dryly describe the play, a streaker suddenly becomes involved in the action, does a dance with a pole, is chased by bobbies, and finally, in the words of the announcer, runs "off like with a bull with gas."
Longtime Nike shop Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., developed the concept last year. Initially, the creative team, under Creative Director Hal Curtis, considered setting the streaker in a National Football League game. That concept, however, was dropped in favor of soccer, said copywriter Jonathan Cude, because Britain "has more of a culture around streaking."
The Nike team hired star commercial director Frank Budgen, whose work, including Nike's "Tag" and "Shade Running" among others, swept the Cannes International Advertising Festival last year.
Mr. Budgen gave the agency only one choice for streaker, casting a London actor named Mark. As part of his contract, a Nike spokeswoman said, the actor's name was to be kept confidential. The director hired a half-dozen cameramen who regularly shoot TV soccer matches, and used broadcast-quality digital video to get authentic camera angles and visuals.
Although Nike has contracts with soccer teams in the British Premier League, including Manchester United, the teams refused to allow their players or jerseys to be used in the spot, according to executives involved in the production. "They ... didn't want to promote it or condone" streaking, the executive said. U.S. broadcasters have long declined to show images of spectators who run onto the playing field.
Some 200 to 600 extras were in the stands in near-freezing temperatures during the four-day shoot at Millwall soccer stadium. Their images were duplicated via computer to make it appear they filled the stands.
Mr. Cude said the agency was concerned the networks would not run the spot with the pixelized area over the streaker's private parts, so a second version was shot with a sign reading "Hi Mom" as a coverup.
The agency at this time doesn't have any plans to produce additional streaker spots. A second spot, not directed by Mr. Budgen, for its women's Shox NZ, also carries the "More Go" tagline and shows a woman eyeing a pretzel in a subway car, running out to buy one, and then rejoining the car at the next station. Both ads will run into March. n
contributing: wayne friedman