Ad Of The Month
The Tokyo Olympics saw skateboarding join the list of Olympic sports. Some of the hobby’s old guard worry about skate culture’s underground status withering away, but for the athletes and the Games themselves it’s a welcome innovation and a boost to the Olympic movement’s 21st century relevance.
It’s also great news for brands. Skateboarding has decades of accumulated cool, looks great on screen, and now boasts a constellation of new stars for brands to partner with. One of those brands is Nike, and one of those stars is woman’s street skateboarding Silver medalist Rayssa Leal, AKA “Fadinha” – the ‘little fairy’. Fadinha is the youngest Olympic medalist for 85 years, and takes the lead in Nike’s “Vai No Nova” campaign.
The Weiden + Kennedy ad’s imagery plays very heavily on Fadinha’s nickname, her youth and the ‘fairytale’ story of her origins in one of Brazil’s poorer regions. Nike wrap all this up by borrowing characters and music from Disney’s Cinderella film – the soundtrack to the ad is a Portuguese cover of the movie’s iconic “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” tune, and Fadinha’s skate through the city is accompanied by animated animals similar to Cinderella’s friends.
The Cinderella fairytale is a nice metaphor for Fadinha’s remarkable ascent to national stardom. It’s also a reminder that she’s a child, in a context where brands have to be very careful of how they treat young athletes. The visual mix of grimy streets and cute cartoon creatures matches the way the well-loved tune is interrupted by the clacking and rolling of the board. It’s a lovely mix of classic and modern imagery and an enjoyably right-brained way of approaching a sports ad, with its cultural references and long shots feeling fresher than the rhythm and rapid cuts of most athletic ads. In our Test Your Ad system, “Vai No Nova” scored a very strong 4.7-Stars.
And, of course, it’s brilliantly timed. Brazil has just enjoyed its most successful Olympics ever – getting more medals than when it hosted the Games in 2016. As usual the country performed well at martial arts and in team sports, but with three skateboarding medals Brazil can add a new event to its traditional strengths. The success of Fadinha and her teammates has reportedly led to a huge surge in uptake of the sport, and Nike are well positioned to be a part of it.