Nike’s “Write The Future” Wins Film Grand Prix At Cannes [Video]

To the surprise of no one, Nike’s “Write the Future,” a cinematic tour de force from Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam and director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu won the Grand Prix in the Film category at Cannes Lions 2011.

Wieden+Kennedy won the coveted Film Grand Prix at the 2011 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for the second consecutive year – except this time it was W+K Amsterdam and London that scored with its Nike “Write The Future” commercial directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu of Independent, London, and bicoastal Anonymous Content. Last year, W+K’s Portland, Ore. office took the Grand Prix for Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” directed by Tom Kuntz of MJZ.

“Write The Future” is a soccer-star laden spot in which the world’s greatest players envision their future if they and their teams perform well at the World Cup. Unfortunately the flip side reveals a future of disgrace and ridicule if they perform poorly. The cause and effect, though, goes much deeper than that as nations’ economies and mindsets – like the fans who live vicariously through their favorite teams and players – flourish or suffer accordingly depending on the World Cup outcome.

The three-minute film showcased the skills of soccer players such as Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba and Cristiano Ronaldo and included humorous cameos of basketball star Kobe Bryant and Homer Simpson. The ad “leaves you feeling really, really inspired,” said film jury President Tony Granger.

“The most difficult brief that comes across a creative’s desk is to create a global film that connects locally, and this one certainly does,” Mr. Granger explained. “It reveals a truth about the brand in a wonderful way and it’s absolutely, meticulously created. There was a lot of really good debate about [Puma and Nike].”

He continued: “Then I asked the jury to watch the two commercials and vote from their heart, and I think this one just connected more emotionally. They’re both absolutely brilliant, but I think one was more emotionally connective. The whole way the movie creates an emotion and leaves you feeling very inspired, pumped up. You feel really good after watching this commercial.”

A Puma ad titled “After Hours Athlete” – created by Droga5, New York – snared the Grand Prix in film craft. That category examines the tools and techniques used in the filmmaking process, such as photography, copywriting, editing and sound design.

“After Hours Athlete” promotes the Puma Social line, which is geared to those who play darts, billiards or other games in social settings. The ad honors the “providences of the after-hour athlete” and shows young adults at dimly lit pool tables and well-lighted bowling alleys. It talks of “being three pints in” and having “steady hands, blurry eyes.” “When last call calls, don’t answer,” advices the voiceover. “The night too, is for sport.”

The film didn’t have the big-budget, blockbuster feel of the Nike ad, but film craft jury President Keith Rose said it’s exceptional individual craft elements made it stand out as best in class. Various techniques, such as skillful shooting, great lighting, smart casting and a strong voiceover, all came together to make this one exceptional film, he said. “It was the sum of all parts,” Rose said. “This was the clear winner.”

Mr. Granger noted the jury was “very, very proud of the Golds. I don’t think we left any Golds on the table.” Among those were Volkswagen’s Super Bowl spot “The Force,” out of Deutsch, Los Angeles; Heineken’s “The Entrance,” out of Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam; BBDO Canada’s Skittles campaign that invites the audience to ‘interact” with a series of films by placing their fingers on the screen; and a pair of Google efforts, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York’s “Chrome Speed Tests,” and Johannes Leonardo’s “Demo Slam” campaign.

From a total of 3,310 submissions, the jury awarded 57 Bronze Lions, 30 Silver and 14 Gold. The U.S. earned the highest number of Lions at 27, Argentina came in second with 11 and the U.K. placed third with 10.  [via USA Today, Fast Company and AdAge]

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