Zlatan battles the elements in Nike's latest campaign 'Dare to Zlatan'
This latest Nike project created by Wieden & Kennedy and
directed by Austen Humphries out of Rattling Stick, consists of
three 15 second spots that make up the 'Dare to Zlatan'
Each spot features Swedish football player Zlatan Ibrahimović
showing off his incredible footwork skills whilst dodging
lightening, facing a Siberian tiger and instigating a volcanic
eruption. Working closely with Austen Humphries, The Mill were
involved from the early concept stage, creating three
conceptualised and stylistic matte paintings; one for each spot.
These were then used as the basis for each ad, shot in Paris and
featuring Zlatan filmed against a blue screen.
The unique aspect to this project was that the post production
across the whole campaign was solely completed in The Mill studio
using Nuke. The team brought each matte painting to life turning
them into fully functioning and animated fantasy worlds and then
comping in the live action footage of Zlatan.
"From the first day we sat around a table with the creatives and
Austen, we knew this was one of those opportunities that comes
along very rarely. Take one amazing superstar athlete, add in an
awesome creative team at an outstanding agency, mix in a director
with an extraordinary knowledge for this type of work and the brand
itself, and finally, come up with 3 totally insane script ideas."
said Mill head of studio Luke Colson, "The finished films are
testament to all of the above."
Lead Nuke artist Leo Costa comments, "This is type of project that
only comes along once in a while, it was very exciting to be able
to push the boundaries and create something incredibly unique and
stylised. When I look back at the results, it's hard to believe
what we started with. Zlatan was lit in a studio environment and we
were tasked with coming up with how he would sit within the surreal
worlds we created. We started by collaborating with the matte
painting team, who designed three fantastic landscapes, then it was
all down to the compositing team to bring each spot to life.
For 'Volcano' our comp team hand animated lava and added all of
the explosion elements, sun flares, embers and even lens dirt. The
biggest challenges were the wider shots, we had to create detailed
geometry in order to project the matte paintings, allowing us to
create a camera movement that followed the football towards the
For 'Tiger' our team worked tirelessly to integrate the life
action tiger, which was shot on green screen and the matte
paintings were enhanced by adding the movement of cg particles,
snow, mist and fog. "
Lead Nuke artist Georgie Ford adds, "The fantastic thing about
this project was how creative we were able to be and how fun and
equally different all 3 spots were. There was so much to play with
and the whole team enjoyed testing things out and really pushing
themselves to the limit to get the best out of the project.
For 'Lightening' we had to create a turbulent and stormy sky, this
was done with a combination of footage of clouds and grid wrapping
them to create a slow swirling effect. We then needed to create
lightning, which could interact with the matte painting. This was
hard at times due to there being no practical lighting from set, so
we had to manipulate the live action footage in order to create the
desired effect. Dust particles created in CG also helped us bring
the dry land of the matte painting to life."
The three online spots are also accompanied by a digital campaign
being led out of Wieden+Kennedy London as well as being featured on
Youtube, Facebook & Instagram.