Nike in the past has faced a big challenge in promoting running in China, where it's had to battle everything from smog to negative perception of the sport as punishment. But in this new ad from Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai, it posits running as a thrilling adventure.
A young woman who appears to have just completed her everyday evening run looks a bit disappointed when she eyes her smartwatch, the time reading 5'40." Knocking her when she's down, a mysterious figure then appears out of nowhere to taunt her further, beckoning her to do go faster and do something a little more daring. The runner then makes her way through dark alleys and buildings, up staircases, and through an army of exercisers before arriving at a huge, Olympics-size stadium, where she zips around the track with pro athletes. At the end of the ride, she heaves another breath and checks her watch. This time, she's shaved more than 40 seconds off her time.
The "Shanghai Fast" film arrives just in time for the Shanghai marathon. Director Nicolas Winding Refn ("Drive," "Bronson," "Only God Forgives") brought his flair for capturing the seductiveness of cities to the ad, produced out of Stink Shanghai. Erwin Federizo, creative director at W+K Shanghai explains in a statement: "What unfolds in this simple idea is an evolution to an adrenaline-fueled chase sequence; capturing not only the physical mechanics and intrigue of a classic film chase through the streets, alleyways, and rooftops of the city, but also the unmistakable beauty and spirit of old and new Shanghai. This film is just as much a love letter to the city of Shanghai as it is a motivating Nike ad."