Exercise Is One Hell of a Drug in These Fantastically Trippy Ads

Björn Borg gets all kinds of weird and wonderful

This is your brain on running. Björn Borg / Nord DDB
Headshot of Doug Zanger

In the land of short ads, there aren’t many that pack a punch. 15 seconds isn’t a lot of time to get a fully-formed message in and, let’s face it, the ad unit that has often been relegated to pre-roll isn’t usually stimulating.

Swedish sportswear brand Björn Borg, however, has flipped the script and created four very short ads that are not only highly watchable, but they deserve the full-screen, headphones on treatment.

“Chase the Exerhighs” compactly tells the story of how, while exercising, chemicals are released by the brain to create a sense of euphoria. The spots by Nord DDB in Stockholm go far beyond describing this “runner’s high” and veers into a candy-colored, psychedelic world of athletic weirdness.

Let’s just say the vibe is similar to what happens when one ingests a tea made from a particular fungus.

A battle ropes workout turns into a tunnel of purple and blue.

A weightlifter’s eyes transform into two (kind of creepy) mouths.

A runner is surrounded by her own heads on a treadmill (why not?).

A cyclist savors purple mist before being rocketed into the air.

“It takes guts to do things differently and fight the giants,” said Andreas Dahlqvist, NORD DDB’s CCO. “We have chosen to move Björn Borg’s brand to the breakpoint between fashion and sport. ‘Chase the Exerhighs’ takes off just right there, and takes us on a real trip.”

This whacked-out concept works so well due in part to the music choice: “Black Naga” by the Pechanga Boys. This amped up version of “Nada Pedale,” a cumbia song from the 1970s, is the perfect backdrop and an inspired choice. Honestly, try swapping this song out for anything else, and it’s hard to see these ads working—which underscores the strong creative decisions in this campaign.

The brand itself, founded by legendary tennis star Björn Borg, is not afraid to step out into bold spaces. Earlier this year, the company created Marriage Unblocked, a platform where same-sex couples could symbolically store their vows on the blockchain—especially useful for those who live in countries where same-sex marriage is still illegal. The brand also sneaked a tifo into this year’s Russia vs. Saudi Arabia match at the World Cup, making a statement in front of the teams of two nations with poor LGBTQ records.

Chase the Exerhighs is supported online and includes (you guessed it) some tripped-out GIFs on social.


Björn Borg

Marketing Director: Jonas Lindberg Nyvagn
Brand Marketing Manager: Johanna Juhlin
PR & Social Media Manager: Emma Bengtsson

Nord DDB

Chief Creative Officer: Andreas Dahlqvist
Account director: Hanna Ternström
Account manager: Linda Lonaeus
Art Director: Clara Uddman
Art Director: Petter Swanberg
Senior Copywriter: Martin Lundgren
Senior designer: Jesper Hellzén
PR director: Susanne Johansson
Planning director: Johan Rynell
Planner: Andrea Dahlbäck
Designer: Tor Westerlund
Social media & content manager: Jonas Eriksson
Production company: House Agency
Director & Photography: Frode&Marcus
Producer: Josephine Lundquist, House Agency
Production manager: Stina Lindgren
Set design: Lisa Berkert Wallard
Styling: Tereza Ortiz
Makeup: Ignacio Alonso
Hair: Joe Yves
Casting: Marcus Pettersson, Casting Sweden.
Editing: Lode Kuylenstierna
Sound: Calle Buddee Roos, Ponytail
Grade: Oskar Larsson, Tint
Online: Olle Petersson, Tint
Comp: Hugo Guerra, Sebastian Loven, Lukas Thuvesson.
Music: ”Black Naga,” Pachanga Boys

@zanger doug.zanger@adweek.com Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.
Publish date: September 5, 2018 https://dev.adweek.com/creativity/exercise-is-one-hell-of-a-drug-in-these-fantastically-trippy-ads/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT