China might not have qualified for the World Cup this year, but Nike just made a commercial that predicts a future in which the country dominates soccer.
The ad, by Wieden & Kennedy Shanghai, imagines life in 2033, where the Chinese team is the one to beat; England is devastated when drawn in their group (tissue sales go off the charts, much to the amusement of the Chinese factory where the product is made). Meanwhile, Manchester City is rushing to sign up more Chinese players.
There's also a nod to women's soccer, and the ad ends by coming back to the present day with young players training on local community pitches. Nike recruited real teenage football players from the Nike Football League in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to star as the young players. Ian Pons Jewell directed the ad, via Hamlet, with post from MPC.
Nike's aim is to inspire China's young soccer players. "We (Nike and W&K) saw this campaign as an opportunity to make a statement and start a conversation about football in China," say agency creative directors Matt Skibiak and Dong Hao. "Why can't China be great? This film is clearly on the side of the athletes who believe it can be. Because if no one is willing to imagine going there in their heads, they'll never get there in real life."