The University of Phoenix has launched a stirring spot celebrating alumna Gail Marquis, an Olympic basketball champion who went on to become a Wall Street executive, to run during the Olympics.
Created by 180 L.A., the ad is set to the Maya Angelou poem "Still I Rise," read by the poet herself, and eventually ending with Marquis reading it. It charts the journey Marquis made from young girl watching the Olympics on TV, to become World Champion, to working in finance, to gaining her MBA at the University of Phoenix in 2006.
Eliot Rausch at Stink directed the spot, whose cast includes a youth center worker playing the young Marquis, chosen because she "embodies the passion and tenacity of Gail," real athletes playing basketball players and a young girl in the final scene cast because her hero is Angelou.
The University Phoenix is not the only advertiser to use Angelou as a source of inspiration during this year's Olympics: Apple used a recording of her reciting her poem "The Human Family" as the backdrop to its Olympics "Shot on iPhone" ad.