By Barry Janoff
April 27, 2012: Nike came out of the gate with full guns blazing in the first official national appearance under its NFL alliance, not only supplying every first-round draft pick with a new team jersey featuring their name on the back, but unleashing a TV spot that makes it clear the company is the new marshal in town.
Moments after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called Andrew Luck's name at the No. 1 overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts, a Nike crew had his name emblazoned on the back of his No. 12 jersey. Minutes later, they did the same with Robert Griffin III, who hit the stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York to greet the commissioner while holding his personalized No. 1 Washington Redskins jersey.
To make its imprint even more profound, Nike also unveiled its high-intensity commercial, "Fast is Faster." The one-minute ad stars the new Nike NFL jerseys and gear (such as pants and gloves), which have been on display at the temporary pop-up NFL Store in New York since being unveiled earlier this month at an event in Brooklyn, NY.
It's all part of Nike's grand entrance as the new official and exclusive supplier of NFL gear via a five-year deal signed in 2010 that sees the company replace adidas' Reebok division, which held the license for ten years.
The spot features (in alphabetical order) Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals), Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks), LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles), Troy Polamalu (Pittsburgh Steelers), Darrelle Revis (New York Jets) and Alex Smith (San Francisco 49ers). NFL official Mike Carey also gets a turn.
"This game is not fast . . . this game is faster," warns a voiceover as lights go on in an NFL stadium, the engine of a sports car races and a jet blazes. "Strong is no longer strong. Fast is the new strong. Lungs are jet engines. End zones are scorched. The pocket is collapsing faster. The field just got shorter. The slow lose their lunch. The tortoise never wins. And if you are not faster, someone will let you know."
The spot launched on ESPN between the selections of Luck and RG3, and now will go into regular rotation as the anchor for the "Fast is Faster" campaign. Support will include print and Internet, with such social media destinations as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Lead agency is Wieden + Kennedy. Nike said the spot was directed by Mark Romanek and edited by Kirk Baxter, who won the Academy Award for film editing in 2010 (The Social Network) and 2011 (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).
"Nike's football heritage is built on the concept of speed," the company offered in a statement. "More than 40 years ago, Nike founder Bill Bowerman set out on a relentless quest to help athletes get faster. From the first football cleat to the new NFL Nike Elite 51 uniforms, Nike continues to blend cutting edge technology with over four decades of knowledge, craft and insight to help athletes gain speed."
See the full spot here.
Nike Now Officially Official NFL Partner