Just watched the new Nike World-Cup themed ad, by Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam:
Except it’s not exactly an ad, and it’s not really, it seemed to me, all that much about the World Cup.
At over three minutes long, and already tallying more than seven million hits on Facebook and Youtube, it struck me as more of a… well, just a self-referential meditation on the whole bewildering dynamic of 21st century media.
I tried to count the number of references to television, billboards, the internet, radio, newspapers and so on, but gave myself a headache pretty quickly. The overall effect of the film is kaleidescopic: each single event in a simple game rebounds across billions of screens around the world, reflected, refracted, splintered into countless potential versions of reality.
The official PR release reckons it “Celebrates Football’s Pivotal Moments and Allows Fans Around the World to Connect with Their Heroes”.
My feeling, though, was that it is less concerned with heroes than with the machinery of marketing that produces those heroes in the first place.
And no wonder – Nike spends over $3 billion on that marketing annually.
That’s the pivotal thing, it seems to me – not athleticism, but advertising.