If you still can’t help but smirk at the idea that professional gamers are considered athletes, maybe the newest Nike advert will change your mind. Loaded with visual effects, the 90 seconds commercial film calls attention to esports and a statement on how a greater ambition depends on a stronger body.
Set in a training camp, the commercial shows e-gamers going through rigorous training scenarios to help them improve their health and vitality. That core idea was in the initial brief of the W+K Shanghai which took 5 days to shoot while being masterfully produced by the Loft. Loaded with special effects, the shoot required MPC’s two vsfx supervisors on set, with a third supervisor joining for the shooting of vfx-loaded scenes. Everything outdoors in this commercial is CG and matte painting, the text laser is CG of course, while the indoor sets are all in-camera just with minor vfx set extensions. The art department did an amazing job building a fully functioning gigantic treadmill and all the other incredible set ups. The prop department also did a great job creating several perfectly functioning Rubik’s cubes, then the CG took over from the slow-down moment in order to be able to polish the look and movement as it floated in space, and to help with the final cube “solve”. With all the work load to be done, MPC admitted to have had to race against time with a little over 2 weeks from the edit lock, but they brilliantly managed.
Enhanced with special effects and light, humorous situations, the commercial makes a compelling case for why Nike moved into the esports. Last year, the sports giant has signed a four-year deal with the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) in China. Esports is a fast-growing industry with huge audience, but Nike’s deal seem to cover more than just apparel and footwear for the teams. Few months after the partnership announcement, Nike China released a documentary to raise awareness about injuries professional gamers are prone to. The documentary shows what training 10+ hours every day in front of the computer does to the player’s body, advocating for the need of better physical training and rehabilitation plans that Nike provides.
The ideas and message of “Unlocking a hero” stretches to this Nike commercial, featuring Jian “Uzi” Zihao, a renowned LPL player, who’s now retired due to injury. First appearing as “LOL God” hologram pointing finger at new recruits just arriving to the center, Uzi later fiercely throws punches in the boxing ring. He’s visually in a better physical form than at the time he appeared in the documentary. While Uzi’s gaming career is over, Nike’s commitment to esport athletes just started, and commercials like this help raise awareness placing gaming and sport together in the mainstream culture. For both the audience, and professional esport athletes.
Agency: Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai
Executive Creative Director: Ian Toombs, Vivian Yong
Creative Director: Jeff Fang, Matt Meszaros
Copy Writer: Gem Xu
Art Director: Jing Qui, Josh King
Producer: Raymond Lau
Production Company: The Loft Films
Executive Producer: Geok Lem
Director: Adam Lau
DOP: Allen Lv
Prod design：Tang Zhen
Prop masters ：Ah Guan / Asuza
Offline Editor: Song Yang
Colorist: MPC Shanghai-Nikola Stefanović
Post sfx/vfx: MPC
Creative Director & VFX Supervisor: Barry Greaves
CG Supervisor: Paolo Gnoni
VFX Producer: Chris Li