The Benefit of Great Expectations

Everyone talks about the challenge of high expectations; past successes can cast a long shadow over the future, where every new move will be measured against a superlative past.  And that can be paralyzing.  It’s the curse of the one hit wonder (“The Night Chicago Died” by Paperlace, anyone?), the sad tale of the talented young sports tyro who didn’t pan out (Freddy Adu?), the frustration of movie sequels that fail to measure up to the original (every Star Wars movie since 1977).

But the glass of great expectation can also be viewed as half-full.  Nothing succeeds like success, and past excellence can draw others to you, eager to take part in the cool happening, the interesting action, the next big thing.

That’s the only possible explanation for how this spot ever came to be.  “Write the Future” is a breathtaking piece of production from Nike, directed by Alejandro G. Iñarritu for the upcoming World Cup.  It is the densest three minutes of story-telling you will see this year, and possibly for years to come.  And it is the kind of audacious spot no other brand could make, simply because to gather the galaxy of international sports stars, licensed properties, and world wide locations would cripple the budget of any marketer who has to pay full retail.  Nike doesn’t.  Their long history of dependable executional excellence draws people to them eager for the exposure of another awesome project.  Artists and athletes want to participate, even though it is a commercial venture.

These expectations also draw crowds: this spot rewrote the book on virals, earning over seven million online views in less than a week.  That’s a benefit the Nike brand richly deserves.

And we viewers can happily enjoy.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


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