Best of 2016 No. 2 TV/Film: Under Armour's Poetic Ad Captures the Human Side of Michael Phelps

Spot Shows Swimmer's Grueling Training Regime

Published On
Mar 08, 2016

Editor's Pick

Through New Year's, we'll be counting down the best work of the year in TV/Film/Branded Content, Print/Outdoor/Design and Interactive/Integrated (IX) as our picks of the day.

At No. 2 in TV/Film, Under Armour and Droga5's poignant ad capturing the intensely focused, rigorous and solitary training rituals of swimmer Michael Phelps ultimately seemed prescient, once the Olympics came around and he proved himself to be a veritable athletic legend. Impeccable craftsmanship, direction and a spot-on track not only made the spot a true pleasure to watch but also helped to land it a Film Craft Grand Prix at Cannes in June.

Original Post:

Under Armour and Droga5's "Rule Yourself' campaign features this stirring spot starring swimming champion Michael Phelps, as he prepares for a final shot at glory at this summer's Olympic Games. And now that he continues to bring home the gold, it feels all the more powerful.

The film, directed by Epoch's Martin de Thurah, documents Phelps' grueling training regimes both in and out of the pool; working out in the gym, loading up on carbs, going for some painful-looking cupping sessions and taking ice baths. It's all set to the track "The Last Goodbye" by The Kills, a poignant reminder that this will be the most decorated Olympian's last Olympics.

The spot continues the tagline "It's What You Do in the Dark That Puts You in the Light," launched by Under Armour earlier this year, which has already featured the U.S. gymnastics team in one spot and international soccer star Memphis Depay in another.

At the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the ad took the Grand Prix in the Film Craft Category, which honors "the quality and aesthetic of the individual elements of the film-making process."

Or, as jury president and Great Guns Founder and CEO Laura Gregory put it: "We're looking for details and choices." That includes, among other things, casting, animation, visual effects, sound design and more. "It's not just about the idea," she said.

The Phelps film was directed by Epoch's Martin de Thurah and documents the swimmer's grueling training regimen both in and out of the pool.

Read more about the Grand Prix win on


Mar 08, 2016
Agency :
Brand :
Under Armour
Client :
Under Armour
Chairperson :
David Droga
Chief Creative Officer :
Ted Royer
Executive Creative Director/Production :
David Droga
Group Creative Director :
Tim Gordon
Creative Director :
Alexander Nowak
Creative Director :
Felix Richter
Creative :
Toby Treyer-Evans
Creative :
Laurie Howell
Design Director :
Cynthia Ratasbouth
Chief Creative Officer :
Sally-Ann Dale
Head of Broadcast Production :
Ben Davies
Executive Producer :
Adam Perloff
Head of Interactive Production :
Niklas Lindstrom
Head of Art Production :
Cliff Lewis
Senior Art Producer :
Julia Menassa
Senior Print Producer :
Alyssa Dolman
Retouching Studio Manager :
Michelle Leedy
Retoucher :
John Ciambriello
Retoucher :
Peter Gibson
Designer :
Jennifer Lally
Designer :
Tessa Modi
Head of Communications Strategy :
Colleen Leddy
Global Chief Strategy Officer :
Jonny Bauer
Head of Strategy :
Chet Gulland
Group Director, Strategy :
Harry Roman
Brand Strategist :
Candice Chen
Senior Communications Strategist :
Hillary Heath
Group Account Director :
Julian Cheevers
Account Director :
Brian DEntremont
Account Manager :
Jordan Cappadocia
Associate Account Manager :
Scott Bubis
Project Manager :
Courtney Kosup
Project Manager :
Connor Hall
Production Company :
Epoch Films
Director :
Martin de Thurah
Director, Photography :
Kasper Tuxen
Executive Producer :
Melissa Culligan
Producer :
Michaela Johnson
Editorial :
Editor :
Leo Scott
Post Production :
Sound Design :
String and Tins/Q Department
Music :
The Last Goodbye by The Kills
Mixer/Sound Editing :
Chris Afzal
Photographer :
Thomas Prior
Chief Executive Offier and Founder :
Kevin Plank
Chief Marketing Officer :
Kip Fulks
Senior Vice President, Brand Marketing :
Adrienne Lofton
Senior Vice President, Global Brand Creative :
Steve Battista
Vice President, Global Creative and Design :
Brian Boring
Senior Vice President, Global Brand Strategy :
Rick Anguilla
Senior Director, Global Brand Marketing :
Jasmine Maietta
Director, Integrated Campaign Planning/Global Operations :
Teresa Oles
Senior Vice President, Global Communications :
Diane Pelkey
Vice President, Media :
Steve Sommers

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