‘Whiplash’ director Damien Chazelle creates ‘Unlimited Future’ for Nike

Baby LeBron, Serena and Neymar help deliver the brand’s message that athletes aren’t born champions, they’re born babies.

In Nike’s latest spot, released ahead of this year’s Olympics in Rio, Bobby Cannavale gives a few words of advice to baby versions of Serena Williams, LeBron James, Neymar Jr, Mo Farah and Zhou Qia.

“Unlimited Future” was created by Wieden+Kennedy Portland and directed by Superprime’s Damien Chazelle. The film sees the Vinyl actor delivering a motivational speech about life, ambition, fairness, and glory.

Nike knows the best competitors have had to earn every success to get to where they are today; Serena’s story began in Compton where she dreamed of winning a Grand slam, Neymar’s began in Mogi das Cruzes and now he represents all of Brazil. The brand’s summer of sport is underlined by its “Unlimited Campaign,” which encourages its audience to embrace an ‘unlimited mindset’ by showing that champions aren’t born, they’re made. Chazelle, a former film student at Harvard and a five-time Academy Award nominee for Whiplash, delivers Nike a spot that applauds the perseverance of the world’s greatest athletes.

“Unlimited Future” was selected as Ad of the Day on AdWeek. They wrote, “It’s an elegant, simple ad that’s wily in its storytelling. The tricks are clear: You’ve got a TV face and a room full of babies. But its persuasiveness rests on the conviction Cannavale pours into those words, and the muttony faces of all those complacent tots, who seem to react as he punctuates hard truths.” Ending with, “It almost feels like Dickens. If Dickens were concise, and wanted us to buy Flyknits.”

Creativity, where the spot was awarded Editor’s Pick, said “As a fun take on the locker-room speech, it’s a slightly different approach for Nike — not a brand you normally associated with cuteness and “Ahhhs.” But with its message that “champions aren’t born, they’re made,” it’s inspirational enough to get everyone in the mood for sport in the run-up to Rio.”