Exclusive: Nike taps 1 fast man, 2 big directors for ads

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Nike is sprinting into the 2004 Olympic running season with a campaign from Wieden & Kennedy filmed by two directors and slated for two different media.

The cinema portion of the campaign features American runner Tim Montgomery, who is being positioned as the fastest man on earth. In the cinema spot, director David Fincher, whose credits include "Fight Club" and "Panic Room," examines the various forms of speed on the planet, starting with slow-moving organisms such as jellyfish, working up through animals including snakes and greyhounds before ending up with humans.

That spot will be followed with a three-commercial TV campaign now in production from director Errol Morris, known for his 1988 documentary, "The Thin Blue Line," about the wrongful conviction of Randall Dale Adams on charges of murdering a police officer. Mr. Morris, with a reputation for getting strong performances out of real people, will focus his efforts on the emotional elements of running. Mr. Morris has been director for another noted client of Wieden, SABMiller's Miller High Life.

July break

It is expected the campaign will break by early July. A Nike spokeswoman declined to comment on the effort, saying the marketer was not yet ready to discuss it publicly. The running effort comes as Nike begins to put its marketing muscle behind Mr. Montgomery after an eight-year relationship with champion sprinter Maurice Greene.

In April, Mr. Greene signed a $1 million-a-year contract with Adidas. An executive close to the campaign said Nike competitors Reebok and Adidas are looking into a similar move to reach young males.

contributing: wayne friedman

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