The Olympics

See the Spot: Gillette and Grey Show Gritty Side of Olympics Prep

With Music by Sia and a Chinese Swimmer Hugging Commode, Spot Is Part of Work That Won P&G's Opening-Ceremony Slot

By Published on .

Advertising Age Player

Think about "The Best a Man Can Get" and you don't envision a guy hugging the porcelain goddess. But while ads featuring Olympic athletes usually show the glory, Gillette's anthem video for the Summer Olympics breaking today instead focuses on the gritty, including what appears to be the first razor advertising that shows a guy throwing up.

That's part of the hard work Chinese swimmer Ning Zetao puts into practice. And the online video breaking today from WPP's Grey in similar fashion shows British cyclist Andy Tennant in a spectacular crash and USA decathlete Ashton Eaton chased by a very mean-looking dog on a run.

The three-minute "Perfect Isn't Pretty" music video also will appear in a 60-second edit during the opening ceremonies for the Rio Olympic Games on NBC Aug. 5. The spot will feature Sia's "Unstoppable" in a new mix from Grammy-winning producer Ariel Rechshaid that also includes an original rap from Pusha T of the duo Clipse and percussion from Brazilian marching band Olodum.

The original mix in the video will be available globally on Spotify, Apple Music and Soundcloud.

"When I was working on "Unstoppable," I wanted to write a sports anthem; the kind of song played before a big game to get the players pumped," said Sia in a statement. "As I learned more about Gillette's 'Perfect Isn't Pretty' campaign supporting the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, this collaboration felt right and this film was a perfect place to unveil this new mix."

"It's a little different spin on what you see from Gillette," said Carlos de Jesus, North American Shave Care brand director for Procter & Gamble Co. "You see the behind-the-scenes work these guys put in every day to be the best."

That includes injuries, or "the guy having trouble holding down his fluids," he said. "All that was inspired by real-life work they went through."

The parallel is "the challenges and difficulties we go through in our business to be the best," Mr. De Jesus said (and the ad does incorporate the long-running "Best a Man Can Get" tagline). "It's a very challenging business, and we have to go through some ups and downs to deliver the best razor in the world. We were inspired by that grittiness from the athletes."

The effort was enough to win the 60-second spot reserved by P&G Global Brand Officer Marc Pritchard and the corporate Olympic marketing team for the best ad from among the many brands participating in the companywide effort. Mr. De Jesus was part of the P&G Olympic team before moving into the Gillette role, but he didn't foresee winning the spot.

"Obviously we wanted it," he said. "We did our best to put together the platform we thought would be best for Gillette."

Other 30-second edits for TV will focus on individual athletes based on the countries where the ads run, the athletes' performance in the games and response to the video in social media.

Despite the threat of mosquito-borne Zika virus and the economic and political troubles facing Brazil, Mr. De Jesus isn't concerned about the impact of the Olympic effort being diminished. "In the end it's about the athletes and the countries they're supporting," he said. "People will rally to support the countries and the athletes they love, and all the pre-stories will be washed away."

The Olympics makes sense for Gillette, he said, because "we want to be part of those moments when the world is watching, so people can connect with our brand."

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