Ol’ Dirty Marvel, Nike Babies, And More: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

Foot Locker finds James Harden’s inner voice, Wonder Woman helps Uncle Sam, and Dove calls BS on body-shaming female Olympians.

Ol’ Dirty Marvel, Nike Babies, And More: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

The goal of any trailer or teaser should be to not only provide audiences a peek at the characters and action to come, but also a glimpse of the emotional tone and personality of the project. And don’t give away the damn plot. Since our last Top 5 writing, we got two prime examples of how to pull this off. One used wit, the other Wu-Tang, but both Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman trailer and Netflix’s Luke Cage teaser managed to exceed expectations, sow intrigue, and spark many a nerdgasm. Onward!


Nike “Unlimited Future”

What: A pep talk from Bobby Cannavale (Vinyl, Ant-Man) and Nike to the baby versions of Serena Williams, LeBron James, and other sports stars, about their unlimited potential.
Who: Nike, Wieden+Kennedy Portland
Why We Care: Everyone needs a pep talk from time to time. And what better time than at the very beginning of this journey we call life? It’s when we’re all even, crawling off the starting line, and while it’s at different times, locations, and under varying circumstances, as the man says, “You don’t decide how your story begins, but you do get to decide how it ends.” It’s a fun way to bring these multimillionaire, elite athletic specimens down to earth as real people who worked their way to the top.

Netflix “Marvel’s Luke Cage”

What: A short teaser for Netflix next original Marvel show Luke Cage, set to premiere on September 30th.
Who: Netflix
Why We Care: Not only does this give us a quick look at Cage, who we first met (at least the Netflix incarnation) as a side character in Jessica Jones, but it makes this intro in perhaps the most stylish way possible. Perfectly set to Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” it manages to continue Netflix’s darker, rougher five borough side of the MCU, while giving Cage a distinct flavor of his own. To comic book and rap fans of a certain age this was straight GOOSEBUMPS.

Dove “Dear media: An athlete’s beauty is her say”

What: A new Dove campaign with former U.S. Olympic gymnast and gold medalist Shawn Johnson to challenge how the media characterizes female athletes and their looks, and how these depictions trivialize these Olympians’ elite athletic ability.
Who: Dove, Razorfish
Why We Care: A perfect Olympic tie-in to the brand’s #MyBeautyMySay campaign, and Johnson’s open letter is both heartbreaking and inspiring.

It’s time to focus on all athletes’ performance, not their appearance. I know, because I was targeted with invasive comments about my body—starting when I was just 16 years old.

Because of all those comments, I was constantly aware of aesthetics. I tried to figure out how to do my hair and makeup and make my leotard look better. I even remember going into the cafeteria and questioning what I should eat. I needed a lot of fuel, but all I kept thinking about was what I had been told about my weight, and I thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t eat as much, so I can shed a few pounds to potentially win.” With the commentators and the news reporters focused on a topic that had nothing to do with my sport and my hard work, I felt helpless.

Warner Bros. “Wonder Woman Comic-Con Trailer”

What: A first real look at the big screen debut of DC Comics’ most iconic female hero.
Who: Warner Bros.
Why We Care: One of the many criticisms of Batman v Superman was around its total lack of self-awareness, cleverness, and humor. Now fans are praising the DC Universe that the franchise overlords took the hint, bookending this fun, action-packed trailer with a joke. Aside from that, we got a solid look at this prequel of sorts, set during World War I, and telling the tale behind how Diana of Themyscira became Wonder Woman.

Foot Locker “James Harden’s Inner Voice”

What: In which we find out that Houston Rockets superstar Harden has a little voice in his head that guides his every move… and that voice is Colin Farrell.
Who: Foot Locker, BBDO New York
Why We Care: The brand has long been able to make its pro athletes extraordinarily funny in unexpected ways, and tapping Farrell for a gold-plated vocal appearance is simply a masterstroke of upping that ante.


About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.