Icelandic Marathon Ad Races Through Famous Film Running Scenes
I love running. When runner’s knee hit me last year my life turned upside down. I was clocking in four miles a day, four days a week, and all of a sudden I couldn’t even hit a mile. However, through training and will, I’ve climbed back to 2.3 miles and increasing! But hold on, I’m no pro. I’m what you call “eternally novice”. I’m not a marathoner (too extreme for me) and not even a half-marathoner… but if more races advertised themselves like the Reykjavik City Marathon I might have to reconsider.
Íslandsbanki’s Reykjavík City Marathon is an annual charity where people sign up to run various distances in support of a cause. The fundraising is a pledge system, where others promise to donate in support of their favorite runners or cause. It’s a wonderful event that was brought beautifully to life by one heck of a creative spark in the ad “Run – It Pays”.
Icelandic agency Brandenburg was trying to figure out a promotion for the event when two of Iceland’s most famous actors asked to participate. This got Brandenburg thinking about what motivates people to run—specifically actors. The answer lied in film and with 20 of Iceland’s best on-screen talent, high-flying production value, and two days to film, they delivered a heck of an ad!
The ad came in first on these legs…
1. Film Lover’s Delight – I love films. I’ve seen and studied so many movies it’s not even funny. So an ad like this was a treat! It was a minute long and featured actors recreating famous running scenes from classics such as North by Northwest, The Graduate, and Goodfellas. It was great! I watched the ad several times just to make sure I picked up on every homage.
2. Pacing – Like a run, this ad got going quick. It opened on a tense moment where two people are trying to diffuse a bomb in a car. They cut the wrong wire. They book it out of there as the camera pulled back on a dolly track… and boom went the car. What followed was a series of running scenes tied together by “Keep on Running” by Steve Winwood—which worked wonderfully with the on-screen mayhem and comedy.
3. Two-Day Shooting Schedule – Wow! I’ve been part of 48 Hour Film Projects, so I know what it is like to make a film from scratch in two days, but this ad? Man oh man. Yes, they probably had months of pre-production and planning and months of post-production on the back end, but with this type of production value, a shooting schedule that is only two days is a tall order for anyone. But it was executed so perfectly that one never would have known if they didn’t go looking.
4. Fun – This ad was fun and that was its best quality. Period. If you make running, or exercise for that matter, fun, then more people will do it. Brandenburg and Islandsbanki did just that. They made a fun ad about running, which encouraged people to take part in the fun and run!
This ad never tripped.
Using expertly recreated movie scenes buoyed by famous Icelandic actors and a great fun pace, Islandsbanki and Brandenburg’s “Run – It Pays” can shout “Nike!” and not have to suffer the consequences (if you know the legend of Pheidippides and the history of the marathon, you’ll understand).