Nike’s “Short a Guy” ad from Wieden + Kennedy is a real pick-me-up.
In it, we meet the luckiest, most athletically inclined kid on the planet. While out skateboarding, he meets some of the biggest stars in sports, who suddenly realize they’re “short a guy” for their pick-up games and invite the kid to play. He steps up to the plate with Mike Trout and Garrett Richards, spikes it with Misty May-Treanor, kicks up a fuss with Mia Hamm, dunks with Anthony Davis and huddles with Andrew Luck. (No doubt Trout and Luck reminisced about teaming up a few weeks back in this amusing BodyArmor ad.)
Lacrosse-playing brothers Miles and Lyle Thompson are in there, too. Because lacrosse is the next soccer, poised to break through and achieve cultural relevance. No, it’s not.
Anyway, it’s an exhilarating 90 seconds, set to the frenetic beat of “Surfin’ Bird”—paging Peter Griffin!—and surely one of the more memorable sports ads of the year. It went wide Monday night during Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby on ESPN, and has nearly 300,000 views in its first day on YouTube.
“The ‘Short A Guy’ film and the #TakeonTJ campaign will drive people to our Gear Up hub on Nike.com, where they will find the best of Nike waiting to help them gear up for greatness this summer,” says David Schriber, Nike’s vp of marketing for North America.
#TakeonTJ is a social and digital push in which “TJ” represents the opponent you’ve always wanted to beat, but never could. Now, Nike aims to inspire you to train and, ultimately, take “TJ” down a few pegs. The Gear Up e-commerce hub also features advisers who give coaching and equipment tips.
“Short a Guy,” directed with fantastic energy by Stacy Wall via Imperial Woodpecker, and seamlessly edited by Rick Orrick, uses Nike’s endorsers to great effect. And its multi-sports theme follows a Nike tradition that stretches back at least to the “Bo Knows” era.
Some commenters have suggested casting a girl in the lead would’ve been an enlightened touch. Fair enough, but as it is, the spot speaks quite eloquently to the universality of sports and the desire of kids (of both sexes and all ages) to take the field with their heroes.
The commercial presents the dream, while the broader Gear Up initiative provides some guidance—and, of course, sells apparel and equipment—designed to make better performance a reality.
Project: North America Gear Up/ “Short a Guy”
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Creative Directors: Chris Groom, Stuart Brown
Copywriter: Derek Szynal
Art Director: Jason Campbell
Producer: Ross Plummer
Executive Agency Producer: Matt Hunnicutt
Strategic Planning: Andy Lindblade, Brandon Thornton, Reid Schilperoort
Media/Comms Planning: Daniel Sheniak, Reme DeBisschop, Brian Goldstein, Emily Graham
Account Team: Karrelle Dixon, Jordan Muse, Corey Woodson, Shinya Kamata
Business Affairs: Dusty Slowik
Executive Creative Directors: Mark Fitzloff / Joe Staples
Production Company: Imperial Woodpecker
Director: Stacy Wall
Executive Producer: Doug Helbert
Line Producer: Matt Wersinger
Director of Photography: Jon Lynch
Editorial Company: Work, LA
Editor: Rich Orrick
Assistant Editor: Clay Doggett
Post Executive Producer: Marlo Baird
VFX Company: Joint Editorial, Portland
VFX Supervisor: Alex Thiesen
Flame Artist: Katrina Salicrup
VFX Producer: Rebekah Korebel
Music+Sound Company: Barking Owl
Sound Designer: Michael Anastasi
Song: Surfin’ Bird, The Trashmen
Producer: Whitney Fromholtz
Mix Company: Lime Studios, LA
Mixer: Loren Silber
Producer: Susie Boyajan