4 Sports Brands That are Crushing Video Content Right Now
Branded videos and commercials are a huge industry for videographers and filmmakers, as well as one of the most creative spaces you can enter. If you want to create deeply emotional, impactful content, then look toward big companies selling products for sports. These four sports brands ads from Nike, Wilson Sporting Goods, Reebok, and Under Armour appeal to both athletes and those who admire great athletics. In addition, the promos use very skillful techniques to hit the aforementioned viewers on a profoundly emotional level.
This kind of emotional storytelling for sports brands creates a connection between the viewer who has aspirational feelings of greatness and a company that sells products that can impart exactly that feeling. The next time you’re creating an advertisement, whether for sports brands or a luxury brand, you’re going to need a great filming location that suits your needs and aesthetic. An invaluable resource like Peerspace features thousands of unique spaces in hundreds of cities, giving you creative places to shoot your next film or advertisement.
Nike’s advertising is a masterclass in creating beautiful video for any platform that is highly emotional and technically perfect in production, as well as sells a lot of product. They are top-tier in terms of sports brands. This particular video’s introductory sequence stands out in a big way.
The first thing shown in the ad is a series of athletes in extremely close-up shots at very high resolution to show an incredible amount of detail in their face and skin. Their skin is dripping wet in sweat, and you can clearly see that their pores are inflamed and their breath is heavy. While seeing these striking images of exhaustion, the viewer observes the athletes sharing the seriousness of injury thanks to the voiceover.
Combine that with a suspenseful soundtrack, and the viewer is feeling a deep sense of awe and empathy for the athletes who leave it all on the field, track, or court, and could lose their career after one injury if it’s bad enough. The filmmaking in these first few seconds lead us into the perfect headspace to care about injury, and then Nike tells us that’s exactly what they’ve been working on.
This is an ideal example of how marketers use an emotional medium like film to create a need in the potential customer, and then immediately fill that same need. Even if you weren’t in the market for running shoes, you’re likely now worried about the fact that your shoes are not the ones on screen that apparently reduce risk of injury by 50%. Plus, even if you were happy with your current shoes, now you want the new ones, and it’s all thanks to fabulous storytelling from Nike’s ad department.
Wilson did a lot of things right with this ad, the first of which is conceptual contrast. Conceptually, there are multiple elements of this video that absolutely do not ever meet in real life, but they are married harmoniously in the ad.
Firstly, tennis is never played or practiced in the open desert. Tennis is also a very classy sport for the dubstep mix produced by Money Mark. Roger Federer is the least ironic thing in the frame, being one of the most renowned tennis players of all time. That being said, the end product is wonderful. Roger is immediately recognizable for anyone in tennis, grabbing interest the second he comes into frame. The soundtrack is built slowly from Roger hitting tennis balls and creating a variety of different sounds.
From there, the edit becomes technically challenging and impressive as the shots line up and build with the music. At one point, it just becomes bizarre as Roger plugs his racket in like a guitar and continues playing. Ultimately, Wilson is trying to sell rackets, and the emphasis on how the racket expands and allows him to further “play his heart out” sells the concept that this new racket will change your game in an emotional, novel, and cool way.
This Reebok ad is a great showcase of just a few in-camera and post-production effects that can elevate a piece miles above what straight footage could sell emotionally. First, let’s address the first lateral shot of the shoe. Not only do we see a wonderfully lit, well-framed shot of the new shoe for the first time at about 22 seconds in, but everything about that shot draws your attention and sells the idea that this shoe is the most epic thing in the film.
The sound effects ramp up as the frame has a slight shake, and then VFX debris and rubble on the ground begins to rise and emanate with the same power coming from the shoe. From there, we see the players on the court begin doing this little weird dance that’s just silly and lighthearted, yet keeps the same intensity in the shots, sound, and color grade.
This contrast between the serious power of the shoe and what it does to those who wear it conveys exactly what Reebok wants you to feel when you don their shoes. Reebok wearers are powerful, strong, and active, as well as a part of a community, able to influence that community. In addition, they’re lighthearted and silly, which allows them to enjoy life and sport with their friends. That’s a beautiful life to live, and if you like the shoe, you just might buy it to feel those emotions every time you lace up.
4. Under Armour
This Under Armour commercial is targeted at people who resonate with hard work, those who are striving to achieve something great with the work they put in physically. From the start, the voiceover appeals to athletes who know the pain and strain of working out: “Listen, you’re more than your successes. You’re more than your failures. You’re the work.” As far as sports brands go, this is a strong statement.
These opening lines have great emphasis placed on them as the only sonic element in the first 10 seconds. These words are the message that Under Armour wants to share. They want athletes to feel and truly believe that the work they put in is not an achievement contingent only on their success or failure on the field. Regardless of the outcome of the work, you are a product of the work you’ve put in, and that’s something to be proud of. The ad sells this concept in a couple of ways, technically.
First, you’re seeing a lot of athletes you don’t know in frame. This is a psychological trick that allows you to see yourself as the hero of the piece. But then you see great athletes like Michael Phelps in the same exhausted condition, with the same color grading and sounds of exhaustion.
Now you feel as though you can see yourself putting in the work that Michael does, alongside him, both exhausted, drained, and making progress. The lack of additional sound draws the viewer in even further to really hear and process the words being said, allowing the ideas to sink in and change the individual.