Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Nov 29, 2013

Nike uses hero archetypes to get Chinese into running

SHANGHAI - The Shanghai International Marathon refused 74-­year-­old Grandpa Sun entry into its race this coming Sunday as he's "too old", but a vignette from Nike's latest 'Let the run tell you why' campaign reveals how the elderly brand-endorser managed to run anyway.

wide player in 16:9 format. Used on article page for Campaign.

The Shanghai Marathon on 1 Dec will be a big extension of the campaign launched on 13 November, as 35,000 registered runners wlll run in Nike-branded bibs (see left).

In conjunction with the marathon, the campaign revolves around an innovative interactive 60-second commercial titled 'The run', in which audiences can click on embedded arrows when they appear on screen to view vignettes of five different runner groups.

The theme song for the online ad is “I Wonder Why” by Dion & The Belmonts. The joyous melody of the song "brings energy", and the repeated lyrics of “I wonder why I love you like I do” make runners think of the reason they run, while also causing non-­runners to "wonder about the allure of running that makes runners have such a love affair with the sport", according to Nike's agency, Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai.

One of the ad's frames contains a link to a hidden game (see below), where a hotdog character races with a banana, a mushroom and a chili.


The five vignettes feature interview clips with runners including Liu Xiang (刘翔), an Olympic gold hurdler medalist, who has been out of the public eye for a long period. Other non-celebrity paid endorsers include Sun Gengsheng (孙更生, a grandpa from Shanxi), a street cartoon-costume running club in Taipei, a blind runner named Inti (傅提芬) from Hong Kong and three sisters from Shanghai Fudan University.

Each story provokes viewers by turning everyday runners into 'hero archetypes' who defeat either external 'foes' or internal 'obstacles', demonstrating an age-old emotional branding technique to inspire customer loyalty and conversion.

Grandpa Sun has been running marathons for the past 20 years. This year, he was told he's too old as the maximum age is 65, but he ran anyway, under someone else's name. Two versions of his vignette (a 30- and a 100-second version, see below), debuted on 21 November.


W+K Shanghai has also done three separate sets of print/OOH ads for the three different markets in Greater China: Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China. (Click here for a gallery of the print work.)



Project: 'Let The Run Tell You Why' 跑了就懂
Client: Nike

Agency: Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai
Executive Creative Directors:  Michael Simons, Achilles Li
Creative Directors: Terence Leong, Azsa West
Copywriters: Jessica Price, Jimmy Chen, Joey Chung
Art Director: Shaun Sundholm
Content Heads: Angie Wong, Bernice Wong
Agency Producer: Fang Yuan
Art Buyer: Rony Shao
Head of Design: Fish Ho
Designer: Timothy Cheng, Kevin Lunsong, Wendy Yu
Print Production: Vic Zhang, Robin Liu
Retoucher: Changqing Lee
Agency Digital Producers: Freeman Chiu, Max Wu
Digital Designers: Follen See
Creative Coder: Ashley Cheung
Agency Editor: Paul Hwang, Jacky Mei
Planners: Rodion Yudasin, Tom Suharto, Leon Lin
Business Director: Bryan Tilson              
Account Director: Dino Xu
Account Manager: Jim Zhou
Account Executive: Chuck Xu
Project Managers: Mercy Wong, Jane Zeng
Business Affairs: Jessica Deng, Bella Zha

Production Company: Knucklehead
Service Company: Playfull Films
Director: Siri Bunford
Director of Photography: Ben Smithard
Executive Producer (Knucklehead): Matthew Brown
Executive Producer (Playfull): David Clark
Producers: Peter Maynard & Wolfie Wong
Editor: Xavier Perkins


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