In April, Nike Women launched its popular "Better for It" motivational campaign in the U.S. Now, the sportswear giant is expanding the tagline in Russia.
A half-dozen new spots from Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam feature the same playful attitude and general message—that the benefits of exercise outweigh the challenge—but take a slightly different tone, as you might expect from ads that feature professional athletes instead of the average exercisers represented in the U.S. work.
The camera work, from director Carlos Serrao, is a little more dramatic in its attention to detail, with scenes like yogi Olga Markes holding a particularly brutal pose while dripping sweat and boxer Kate Izotova getting punched in the face while sparring (a moment featured, naturally, in slow motion).
The copy, meanwhile, comes across as less overtly vulnerable than in the U.S. ads, where women explicitly tolerated their own misery (largely manifest as insecurity) for the promise of self-improvement in the end. Instead, the Russian athletes seem to be a bit more defiant in their vanity—embracing pain in pursuit of perfection or glory.
"What are you doing here?" says Izotova's voiceover. "You could have stayed at home, been someone's trophy. … Screw that. I'll earn my own trophy."
In other words, the ads hew more closely to traditional endorser-driven sports marketing (even if they're not celebrities with wide global name recognition)—a strategy that speaks more of a "Be like this" inspirational strategy than a "We know it's hard but we're with you" motivational one.
In addition to the pro athlete ads, Nike also turned Instagram posts of real girls working out into street posters around Moscow. Indeed, the campaign's title is "Real Girls of Moscow," and it aims to capture the spirit of what Nike describes as a growing sports movement in Russia, featuring women who are "free-thinking and free-spirited," and "are more comfortable in sneakers than heels, preferring exercise to fad diets."
Whether drawing that kind of line—or calling a bunch of accomplished women, at least four of whom are in their 20s and 30s, "girls"—is a smart or deliberately provocative move isn't clear. But it is at least understandable, given the brand sells running shoes that also tend to double as fashion statements—and not stilettos.
Regardless, Nike is also touting a 25,000-person turnout for a 10-day sporting event at Gorky Park in Moscow. And the new campaign features top athletes in a broad range of disciplines (ballet, choreography, long-jumping, skateboarding and sprinting) showing up variously on giant outdoor murals, and in nifty GIFs for online distribution—probably because if you really want to do that sweet kick-flip, you're going to have to get used to doing it over and over again, stuck on infinite loop, for the rest of time.
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Amsterdam
Executive Creative Directors: Mark Bernath, Eric Quennoy
Creative Directors: David Smith, Alvaro Sotomayor, Craig Williams
Art Director: Ignasi Tudela
Copywriter: Zoe Hawkins
Head of Content: Joe Togneri
Planners: Danny Feeney, Michelle Arrazcaeta
Communications Planner: Josh Chang
Group Account Director: Kirk Johnsen
Account Director: Kathryn Addo
Senior Account Manager: Jorge Fesser
Broadcast Production, Head of Art Buying: Maud Klarenbeek
Broadcast Production, Art Buying: Javier Perroud
Head of Studio: Jackie Barbour
Retoucher: Dario Fusnecher
Project Manager: Janna Harrington
Business Affairs: Michael Graves
Production Company: Terrie Tanaka Management
Director, Photographer: Carlos Serrao
Director of Photography: Monica May
Producer: Amy Lynne
Executive Producer: Terrie Tanaka
Vogue Shoot, Makeup: Mark Williamson, Artist Management
Vogue Shoot, Hair: Jed Root, Hanjee Hair Gallery
Editing Company: Whitehouse Post
Editor: Sam Gunn
Audio Post: Wave Amsterdam
Sound Designer, Mixer: Alex Nicholls-Lee
Music: Glintshake; MassiveMusic
Glintshake: Katya Izotova, Olga Markes
MassiveMusic: Adelina Sotnikova, Diana Vishneva, Darya Klishina
Flame: Morten Vinther
Telecine: Scott Harris
Producer: Jane Bakx
Media Buy: Mindshare Russia
Digital Production, Social Activation: Instinct BBDO Moscow