Nike's "Unlimited" campaign has showcased athletes who push their boundaries, including ads featuring babies, apparently super-human pros, a transgender duathlete and the U.S.A. basketball team. Nike adds another angle with a spot that tackles ageism. It profiles the extraordinary 86-year-old nun Sister Madonna Buder, who has competed in over 40 Ironman races.
At 75, Buder (who has earned the nickname "The Iron Nun") became the oldest woman to ever complete an Ironman triathlon. At 82, she set a world record as the oldest Ironman triathlon competitor.
Like the previous ads, the spot takes a light-hearted tone rather than the serious, reverential approach we have come to expect from Nike. To poke fun at the idea that the average young person's reaction to an octogenarian triathlete, the narrator (actor Oscar Isaac) starts off patronizing -- "it's great that she's still active at her age" -- then almost freaks out, as she plunges into the sea with other traithletes. He finally accepts that, having done 45 of these things, she should be free to "do her thing."
The spot is by Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, and directed by Max Malkin at Prettybird.
Meanwhile, if you want to know more about Sister Madonna, Nike also made a Behind-the-Scenes film which reveals more about her amazing achievements.