For a stretch in the mid-2000s parkour had a reasonably solid heyday in advertising. The most prominent example is the 2006 Nike and Wieden + Kennedy classic “Angry Chicken” to launch the brand’s Presto shoe. Other brands like Pepsi, Suzuki and T-Mobile have used the stunts to decent effect. Free runner (and Red Bull athlete) Jason Paul travels the world, jumping off and around buildings, boats and planes. Even Roger Federer got into the act (albeit in front of a green screen) for a mobile carrier.
Parkour is a fun tactic to use but, for the most part, ads using it usually feature a single person or a small group. Apple decided that more is merrier, using a massive group of parkour athletes and runners for its latest ad promoting the brand’s iPhone XR display.
Using the backdrop of a dull and seemingly lifeless apartment complex, a large group of free runners appear in blue, then yellow and red … and orange, purple and green. Eventually, they all mash together in a burst of color to represent the phone’s advanced display. The spot’s title, “Color Flood,” is most certainly apt and is an impressive example of organizing a complex, synchronized mass of humanity.
Another nice touch is the use of Cosmo Sheldrake’s song “Come Along.” Usually, parkour videos are accompanied by aggro beats, but there is nice cognitive dissonance between the action and the music that binds the entire enterprise together very well.
The ad was directed by Rupert Sanders (he of a “momentary lapse” in 2012 with Kristen Stewart on the set of Snow White and the Huntsman) who has an enviable roster of brand work including Jordan, Adidas, Verizon, Reebok and Microsoft for Halo 3: ODST which won a Cannes Lions cinematography gold in 2010.