As the Tokyo 2020 Olympics approaches, Facebook is shining the spotlight on skateboarding, one of the five new sports coming to this year’s summer games. A series of ads created out of Droga5 promotes Facebook through an array of skateboarding stories, all centered on the theme “We change the game when we find each other.” Together, they illustrate how the brand’s various platforms have helped nurture the communities that have helped evolve skateboarding into a globally beloved and accessible sport.
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“Skateboarding is a grassroots sport and culture, centered around connection and community,” Andrew Stirk, VP, global company marketing at Facebook said in a statement. "This work celebrates the authentic stories of skaters using our platforms to find each other, broaden the culture, and push the sport forward.”
Though the new ads don’t feature any Olympians, they star an array of talents from the skateboarding world who have helped the sport thrive in their respective communities. According to Facebook, more than 34 million users follow skateboarding creators globally on Instagram and more than 5.7 million are members of Facebook skateboarding groups.
The hero film “Skate Nation Ghana’’ (above), for example, highlights Facebook Company with the fast-paced tale of how avid skater Joshua Odamtten, founder of Ghana’s first skate crew Skate Nation GH, helped to popularize skateboarding around the country alongside Surf Ghana founder Sandy Alibo and designer Virgil Abloh after they connected with each other and the community through platforms including Instagram and Messenger. The spot was produced out of Love Song and directed by Bafic, Elliott Power and Justyna Obasi.
Another ad, “Longboard Family,” promotes the Facebook App through the emerging sport of longboard dancing. Directed by musician FKA Twigs via Object & Animal, the spot assembles captivating scenes of enthusiasts and their graceful moves throughout the streets of Los Angeles, Barcelona and Seoul.
A third film, “No Comply,” looks at the evolution of the eponymous skateboarding move via Instagram. Featuring trans skateboarders Kane Caples and Marbie Miller and other top skaters such as Kento Yoshioka, Mirei Tsuchida and Richie Jackson, it shows how Instagram has inspired athletes to bring their own twists on the move, invented by John Lucero and popularized by Neil Blender in the ‘80s. Yann Demange directed, via Reset.
Yet another spot, “Once Upon a Time Anywhere,” stars pro skateboarder TyShawn Jones and his crew in a mashup of real life and the surreal to promote Oculus. Jones, who was Thrasher’s “Skater of the Year” award in 2018, is known for his gravity-defying style influenced largely by video games, which the film plays up dramatically at the hands of director Juan Cabral of MJZ.
The Olympics-themed ads are a continuation of the “Find Each Other” platform that Facebook and Droga5 introduced in March of last year with the stirring pandemic-themed ad featuring a spoken word poem from Kate Tempest.
The campaign “reminds people that they can do amazing things when they come together,” says Droga5 Chief Brand Strategy Officer Harry Romain-Torres. That idea continues in “the stories of the various skate communities who found each other on Facebook and helped democratize the sport," he says.
“The skateboarding debut at the Olympics this summer felt like the perfect moment to tell stories about how the sport has also evolved to become more inclusive and illustrate the role Facebook’s suite of apps have played—helping people find each other in sports and beyond—to build great things,” adds Droga5 Co-Chief Creative Officer Felix Richter.
The campaign is running nationally on Facebook platforms, on broadcast during NBC’s coverage of the Tokyo Games and on NBC’s various properties.