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My Favorite Super Bowl Ad Advertising Nike

My favorite Super Bowl ad: 72andSunny's Glenn Cole


By Minda Smiley, Reporter

January 23, 2017 | 5 min read

Ahead of Super Bowl 51, The Drum has asked some of the industry’s most influential people to reflect on their favorite Super Bowl ad of all time and discuss why it stands out to them.

Credit: 72andSunny

72andSunny co-founder Glenn Cole

We’ve also asked them to give their thoughts on whether they think social media has helped or hurt the effectiveness of the coveted Super Bowl spot. Over the past few years, many brands have chosen to leverage the power of social media by teasing or releasing their Super Bowl spots online days before the game in hopes of garnering additional buzz and maximizing reach – but a good number of brands still prefer to take the traditional route of surprising viewers on game day.

Up until the Super Bowl, we’ll be featuring responses from agency founders, creatives and CEOs. Today we feature Glenn Cole, co-founder of 72andSunny. Below, find out why Nike’s “Heritage” spot is his favorite Super Bowl commercial of all time.

What is your favorite Super Bowl ad of all time?

Nike 'Heritage' (sometimes titled ‘Lone Runner’).

Why did you love it? What made it stand out?

When I first saw this, I was in college and I was almost moved to tears.

It inspired me to pursue a career in advertising and to harass Dan Wieden until he gave me a job.

Since then, I’ve watched this ad more than once. What originally moved me, still moves me today.

It’s a masterpiece of craft. The quiet opening. The artful narrative. The satisfying resolution. The music. The pacing. The scale. The emotion.

But above all, it stands out from the others - Super Bowl ads, regular ads, and other Nike ads - for its simple truth. Without saying a word, it captures the essence of being an athlete, at any level. The solitude. The drive. The struggle. The reward. The endless journey.

Twenty five years later, still nothing quite elicits a ‘hell yes!’ like this does. For me, anyway.

In your opinion, was it ultimately a success for the brand?

I don’t recall how it fared in public opinions of ‘Best Super Bowl Ad,’ but at the time, Nike was a challenger brand on the rise with a reputation for bombastic and fun ad campaigns (Bo Knows, Mike and Mars, Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood, etc.) This reminded audiences of the brand’s depth and soul while helping the average athlete see him/herself in the accomplishments of sport’s giants. ‘Just Do It’ somehow never felt so personal as it did right then and there.

What do you hope to see from this year’s crop of Super Bowl ads?

Challenging ideas. Meaningful stories. New perspectives.

Social media has changed the way brands approach their Super Bowl advertising strategies. Do you think social media has helped or hurt the effectiveness of Super Bowl spots?

If the ad is good, provocative, or both, social media helps.

If it sucks, social media hurts.

I can’t think of an example where social media drastically changed mass perception of an ad.

But I can think of tons of examples where social media amplified a success -- ‘Like a Girl’ by Always, because everyone and their mom shared it with everyone and their moms.

And I can think of tons of examples where a good ad got great pre-game social media buzz, like ‘The Force’ by Volkswagen, which only fueled its popularity in ‘Best of the Super Bowl’ lists.

In short, social media is a great amplifier. As long as you’ve got the goods.

To read the other interviews in our series, click here.

To find out which brands are advertising in the Super Bowl this year, visit The Drum's dedicated page here.

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