Ad of the Week: Nike Human Printing Press

In the inaugural post of a new weekly series, we offer up Creative Review’s first Ad of the Week (cue trumpets). This week the ad that most impressed us is a new spot for Nike Turkey from Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, which features a human printing press. We talked to the ad creatives and the director, James Frost, about how it was done…

In the inaugural post of a new weekly series, we offer up CR’s first Ad of the Week (cue trumpets). This week the ad that impressed us most is a new spot for Nike Turkey from Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, which features a human printing press. We talked to the ad creatives and the director, James Frost, about how it was done…

The strategy behind the film is ambitious: a desire to inspire Turkish sports fans not just to watch their favourite sports on TV but actually get out and participate themselves. To do this, the agency turned to a number of Turkish sports stars, including footballers Burak Yilmaz and Enes Ünal, to use their skills to help create an unusual poster for fans.

“We knew the key to motivating young Turks was to tap into their passion for supporting club and country,” says creatives Andrew Dobbie and Jordi Luna. “That’s where the thought of enlisting Turkey’s top athletes to create a series of posters came from. The thought being that if Yilmaz, Ünal and co. were involved in making the posters, their fans would do anything to get them.”

The creatives came up with the idea of using the athletes as a human printing press, utilising their various sporting skills to create the posters. To bring the press to life, they contacted director James Frost, who had previous form in creating mind-boggling mechanisms for his video for the band OK Go, which features an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine. The video is shown below:

Designing the press took a lot of planning. “After months of exploring different sports, movements and printing techniques, we had a blueprint for the Human Printing Press,” says Dobbie and Luna. “Next came the build. To incorporate movement, the press had to be huge, and in the end it covered the size of half a football pitch.”

“We shot the job in Turkey,” continues James Frost, “so the construction had to get underway about two weeks prior to us arriving. We found out pretty quickly that wood is not a material widely used in Turkey and everything that was being built was being built from steel and welded together. It was quite something. It gave very little room for error, and to change something was suddenly a huge ordeal. But the crew there did an incredible job of really taking these CAD drawings and building them all.”

The machine is powered by cyclists, who all had to work together to move the paper down the machine. Runners then sprint up a ramp, crossing a series of laser beams; as the beams are broken, a series of compressed cannons fired powdered ink onto the paper as it went past, giving the posters their first layer of ink. “That’s why some [of the posters] are more metallic than others, as if the paper was not directly in front it got less of a blast,” says Frost. “It just meant each poster truly was individual.”

Up next was the boxer, who punched, via a punching bag rigged with ink blotters on the back, the second layer onto the poster. After this, the paper went through a device so it lay in a horizontal position on the conveyer belt. “This then enters the only digital section of the whole process,” says Frost. “I really wanted to capture an image that would be powerful and balance the poster from more abstract movement to a raw capture of movement. We set up a stroboscopic type scenario where the footballer would activate the flash sequence and then that image got processed in a computer into a two-tone image that then got printed onto the paper.”

A skateboader provided the next part. He painted a sentence (‘Move’ in Turkish) onto the posters via the wheels of his skateboard. Then the Nike swoosh was stamped onto each poster via a group of women doing a Nike Training Class routine, before the conveyer moved finally to basketball. “Here it was as simple as turning the hoop into a giant letterpress that stamped the posters with Just Do It,” says Frost. “I say simple, but the reality was they had to construct as massive spring mechanism that could hold the weight of the player and produce a smooth press action and deliver pressure at the same time. The thing looked like some kind of dinosaur Skelton, it was amazing. All made from steel of course.”

The machines in the film took around three weeks to create, and then the whole thing was shot over two days in a massive warehouse outside Istanbul. In the film, the finished posters are delivered by Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba.

The next stage of the campaign is then laid in the hands of the fans. Throughout the course of the campaign, Nike will be issuing online challenges and holding events to inspire people to get involved in fun and engaging ways. Athletes can get inspired by each other’s stories and choose challenges on and participants can upload their activity to social media and tag it with #hareketet and #justdoit. The winners of the challenges will receive a poster. “If people can prove they’ve got the moves,” say Dobbie and Luna, “they’ll earn one of the ‘Made by Movement’ posters, signed by the athletes who made them.”


Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam
ECDs: Mark Bernath, Eric Quennoy
Creative directors: Mike Farr, Pierre Janneau
Art director: Jordi Luna
Copywriter: Andrew Dobbie
Director: James Frost
Production company: Honey Badger
Local production company: AZ Celtic

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