Understandably, most athletic performance brands are known for using professional athletes to showcase their products and inspire consumers. Inspiration through aspiration and all that. Which is what makes Saucony’s brilliantly charming profile of The Oatmeal‘s Matthew Inman such a welcome sight. It’s not that we don’t love the best that the likes of Nike and Under Arour have to offer, but this smartly differentiates Saucony as a brand apart and running a different race. Onward!
What: Nature has something to say, and it’s doing it in the voice of Liam Neeson–do we even have to tell you to pay attention?
Who: Conservation International
Why We Care: Last year, Conservation International launched its “Nature Is Speaking” series of celebrity-voiced ads, projecting personality onto the natural world. Harrison Ford and Julia Roberts among them. Adding Liam Neeson to the list is a…ahem…natural move, and the actor’s gruff Irish tenor tells us that Mother Nature is still pissed off.
What: A unique portrait of The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman and why he loves to run.
Who: Saucony, Mechanica USA
Why We Care: Like I said in the intro, this is a charming profile that sets the brand apart from the typical approach to athletic inspiration advertising. Sure, we all want to be fit and healthy, and maybe even fast, but we were sold as soon as Inman mentioned hangovers and cake.
What: Kendrick and a collection of everyday folks pull off their own version of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s disappearing act from Episode IV.
Who: Electronic Arts, Heat
Why We Care: Star Wars obviously is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to ad fodder, but kudos for going with a deep cut classic. It’s a subtle but effective way to convey the idea of becoming part of the Star Wars universe. As Heat associate creative director told Co.Create, “Of course the game is fun, but there was this visceral feeling of ‘holy sh*t, I’ve been transported inside Star Wars,” says Fang. “It’s a gut punch in the best way possible. That became our starting point.”
What: To promote the brand’s STELLAsport line with Stella McCartney, filmmaker Petra Collins created this stylish short film that profiles a handful of strong, independent, young female athletes.
Who: Adidas, Petra Collins
Why We Care: Okay, okay, we know that “femvertising” may be a becoming a bit tired for some, but the fact is when it’s done right, it’s still very much an effective and inspiring avenue for a brand. Here, Collins tells a powerful story about being a woman athlete in a male-dominated world.
What: BMX wizard Kriss Kyle turns a complex obstacle course into a giant optical illusion,
Who: Red Bull
Why We Care: As biking action films go, Red Bull has set itself up to a pretty damn high standard, but this trippy attempt at messing around with the laws of physics definitely lives up to it.