I’M AN ATHLETE
Cross-fit and cross-training is not a new concept but its overwhelming popularity is felt everywhere. Canada’s Gary Roberts is renowned not only for his playing career in the NHL but also for his physical fitness. Roberts partnered with Adidas Canada in the “Never Done” campaign to bring his own philosophy to the next generation of pro athletes. Along with a number of prominent professional athletes, Roberts challenged young athletes to adopt his template of using different sports regimens to obtain peak physical performance. In the ultimate cross-training, these aspiring young athletes are given insight and appreciation for other sports and challenged to think of themselves as an “athlete” before imposing a specific sports label to themselves.
Canada is fervent in their appreciation of professional athletics. It’s no secret that most Canadian are “outdoorsy” people is spite of the sometimes formidable terrain and climate. Canadians seemingly embrace these facets and this is given further credence in their affinity for the physical challenge of sports. The message of the “Never Done” campaign was to instill in the next generation of professional athletes (and anyone paying attention) to reject complacency and to exist in a state of beta. In training athletes of one sport with the template of another, an individual and communal appreciation is cultivated. When Tyler Seguin and Gary Roberts surprise a hockey team with a soccer workout they’ve never seen, the challenges and gains are instantly apparent. The benevolence of “Never Done” is that there is no full-frontal marketing. In the most positive manner, this campaign seeks to create community; no sports drink or feather light shoe (or any product for that matter) is marketed. Should this Adidas campaign (produced by DDB) become the standard of the industry, consumers may completely change abandon their second-guessing of an advertiser’s intentions.
Producer Melanie Roy oversaw this extremely successful project which displays Roberts supervising workouts along with famous and respected athletes like Kevin Pillar and Melvin Upton Jr. of MLB, and the NHL’s Conor McDavid and Tyler Seguin. The campaign was very large in scale, creating approximately twenty productions consisting of short documentaries, scripted content, and social videos. The initial launch video presented an overall theme with a teaser style ending. The following “Athlete vs. Athlete” was distributed on social media and was a single cut workout in which the athletes broke the fourth wall as if speaking to a competitor as a “call out.” The final phase was a documentary style “Creator Squad” which showed the interaction of pros with aspiring pro athletes.
Perhaps most impressive about “Never Done” is the way that it uses the preferred medium of online communication to speak to young athletes in a manner that they are most comfortable with. By bridging this gap and offering to play on their home court, the young viewers and participants are more inclined to take a chance and try something new…which is what “Never Done” is all about.