Nike Football’s latest ad is its longest ever – twice the length of 2010’s Write The Future. But with an entertaining storyline – where Ronaldo switches bodies with an English ball boy – and great performances all round, it proves engaging throughout.
Thankfully for Ronaldo, the ball boy is equipped with some pretty strong burgeoning footie skills, so the duo adapt to the switch with relative ease, bar the odd language barrier and crashed car. And everyone learns something along the way, though happily the tone throughout is light, eschewing the earnest, cod philosophical style that seems to invade all too many sports ads these days. Proof that when it comes to the epic footie ad, Nike is still king.
Some fun facts about the ad from Nike:
In addition to Cristiano Ronaldo, 16 professional players make cameos in The Switch: Raheem Sterling, Joe Hart, Harry Kane, Chris Smalling, John Stones, Ross Barkley, Megan Rapinoe, Ricardo Quaresma, Andre Gomes, Jose Fonte, Cedric Soares, Vieirinha, Raphael Varane, Anthony Martial, Sergi Roberto and Javier Mascherano.
The shoot was the first opportunity the players had to wear the final, badged versions of their new national team kits. While many had been involved in the testing and feedback process, there was palpable excitement on set when they finally got to don the finished product, several weeks before the kits were officially unveiled.
The song that plays throughout the film is Turn Up by The Heavy.
The Switch is the most extensive brand shoot Cristiano Ronaldo has ever done, for any company. It required five days of filming, all completed in Spain. Ronaldo performed his own stunts in the initial collision scene, which was done in just three takes.
UK football announcer Jim Proudfoot makes a cameo in the film, playing himself. Proudfoot has covered more than 2,000 football matches in his career.
The young man co-starring in the film is Gerson Correia Adua. He is 16 years old, an avid footballer and speaks fluent English and Portuguese. This was Adua’s first foray into acting. He was originally the understudy for the part, but when the actor who was initially cast injured his leg in a car accident, Adua stepped up. The previously cast lad is on the mend and still appears in the film at the 5:15 mark.
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Creative directors: Chris Groom, Stuart Brown
Creatives: Dylan Lee, Pedro Izique
Director: Ringan Ledwidge
Production company: Rattling Stick, Los Angeles
Editorial company: Work Editorial
VFX: The Mill