Nothing Beats a Londoner by Wieden + Kennedy London

Created by Wieden + Kennedy London and directed by Riff Raff Films quartet Megaforce, this ad for Nike won hearts and created a whole lot of social media buzz

This project was selected as Best in Book in The Annual 2019, CR’s award scheme celebrating the best in creativity 

If there’s one ad from 2018 that managed to singlehandedly generate the most buzz on social, it has got to be Nike’s Nothing Beats a Londoner. Before the campaign unfortunately had to be pulled due to legal wranglings over its use of the term ‘LDNR’, the brand’s hectic, head-spinning ode to the capital was the top trending video on YouTube, and was shared by everyone from Drake to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

Created by Wieden + Kennedy London and directed by Riff Raff Films quartet Megaforce, the campaign was launched to coincide with a week-long programme of activities organised by Nike London at 250 venues across the city, during which 75 Nike-sponsored athletes took to the streets to encourage young people to get active during half-term.

The film opens with Londoner Skepta going into an off-licence soundtracked by his track Shutdown, before mutating into a three-minute, braggadocio-filled, whistle-stop tour of the city through the eyes of no fewer than 258 young footballers, runners, ice hockey players and other athletes who call the city their home. Shot across the capital in Dalston, Peckham and Brixton, the film also features cameos from sports stars, musicians and other big names, including footballers Harry Kane and Alex Iwobi, England football manager Gareth Southgate, athletes Dina Asher-Smith and Mo Farah, and grime artists Giggs and Kano.

Launched by all of the young athletes featured in the campaign on their Instagrams, the spot has been commended for its honest, genuinely diverse and uplifting portrait of London at a time when every day seems to bring yet another headline about a young Londoner being stabbed, amid the city’s ongoing knife crime epidemic. Unsurprisingly, Wieden + Kennedy’s effort has cleaned up on this year’s awards circuit, winning multiple accolades at Cannes Lions and D&AD Awards, to name just a couple. It has also given Nike a well-deserved boost to its street cred in the capital; following the launch London searches for Nike products went up by 93%, and UK searches increased by 54%.

Nothing Beats a Londoner is a brave approach from Nike at a time when big brands are consumed by creating global campaigns that speak to everyone about everything all the time. Not everyone will ‘get’ the ad, and a proportion of the social buzz following its release was made up of outraged non-Londoners pointing out that, actually, a lot things are quite capable of beating a Londoner. But that’s not the point. Without losing sight of the fact that this is an ad selling relatively pricey sportswear, the campaign has given a community under siege something to unite around and a reason to feel good about themselves.

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy London. Creatives: Tom Bender, Tom Corcoran. Creative Directors: Mark Shanley, Paddy Treacy. Executive Creative Directors: Tony Davidson, Iain Tait. Planning Director: Paula Bloodworth. Agency Producer: James Guy. Agency TV Producer: Michelle Brough. TV Production Assistant: Rose Fairley. Group Account Director: Ryan Fisher. Account Director: Sophy Woltman. Account Manager: Holly Baker-Cliff. Production Company: Riff Raff. Directors: Megaforce. Editing: Final Cut. Music Supervision: Mr Pape. Post Production Company: Time Based Arts. Director of Photography: Nicolas Loir. Editor: Joe Guest. Executive Producer: Matthew Fone. Art Director: Marco Puig. Line Producer: Nick Goldsmith. First Assistant Director: Chris Kelly. Location Supervisors: Carl Fairall, Eugene Strange. Music Supervisor: John Connon. Post Production Supervisors: Sheldon Gardner, Francois Roisin. Producer: Nick Goldsmith. Production Manager: Hannah Fowles-Pazdro. Sound Designer & Engineer: Sam Ashwell. Sound Producer: Mary-Ann D’Cruz. Telecine Technician: Simone Grattarola. Visual Effects Supervisors: Sheldon Gardner, Francois Roisin. Audio Post-Production Company: 750mph.