Striking Nike Lacrosse Ad Sells Sixth Sense to Athletes

I used to make lacrosse highlight reels. It was good money for a film major who had no career plans. In the process, I became familiar with a sport that I only had an inkling of knowledge about. I can’t say I became a lacrosse “fan”, but I got the bug enough that when I see lacrosse or something about it, I give it a look… And I’m glad I do because it led me to discover this great lacrosse ad.

Nike and Highdive, a Chicago-based boutique agency, in cooperation with The Mill – Chicago, launched a campaign for Nike’s Alpha Huarache 6 LE “Eyes” Cleat, specifically designed for lacrosse. The 60-second action spot they created makes a case that the cleat will help athletes get closer to their animal instinct and thus improve their performance.

I can’t speak for if the shoe works, but as far as the ad goes, if I were a lacrosse player, I’d be sold.

Nike Lacrosse Commercial Action

Some Good

Here’s what worked about this ad for me…

1. Visuals – This ad was strikingly gorgeous. The cinematography captured a beautiful cool blue, with the assistance (I’m assuming) of a fog machine, but didn’t lose any of the warmth of the colors—especially the red lockers at the beginning. Once the action moved to the field we were given smooth, easy-to-follow but kinetic camera movement assisted with crisp action editing that delivered the thrill of the sport. Add to it the cutaways to various animals and their eyes and I myself felt as if I was tapping into some unknown special ability deep inside me; then, it finished with basic, but cool visual effects on the player. Darn good.

2. Voiceover – This ad had excellent narration with a futuristic, almost science-fiction atmosphere. As the action progressed on screen, we were privy to a man talking about how, in the future, it is believed athletes will develop a sixth sense, much like their evolutionary ancestors, that will allow them to become the epitome of the human species. Supposedly, it all begins with this new shoe. I don’t know if I buy that nugget per se, but as far as assisting the ad, the words worked wonderfully.

3. Sound Design – The voiceover was great, but it wasn’t the only audio wonder in this ad. The sound design, from the sound effects editing to the sound mix and to the music, was great. I heard every crunch of the turf, every hit and body impact, every click and clack of the stick, and every animal growl, and it was all beautifully balanced in the mix with the music—which was a pulsating, thrilling score that fit the piece so well, I wondered if it was written for the ad itself.

Nike Lacrosse Commercial Visuals

Some Bad

Here’s where I had some issues…

1. A Bold Claim for a Shoe – I’m just nitpicking here, but as much as I loved the ad, the realist in me was saying “okay, maybe a little overdone for a shoe”. There just wasn’t much of an explanation as to how the shoe would increase performance. But this was a niche ad for a niche sport, so maybe the target audience would know how the shoe helps more than I would. Besides, if that’s the extent of my issues, then there really wasn’t much bad in the ad.

The Takeaway

Nike is an athletic brand. Athletics are built on action and thrills and athletes themselves crave action and thrills, so Nike’s ads should reflect that aspect of sports. They routinely do, and this one did especially. With glorious camera work, tight editing and strong sound design—all action movie requirements—this ad made me overlook the lack of “how” the shoe can do it, but pay attention to “what” the shoe can do. If I were a lacrosse player, let alone an athlete, I’d be sold.

AUTHOR: Dan Nelsen
ORIGIN: Speaking Human Contributor

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