Nike creates animated character for new ads

Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam is launching a pan-European multimedia campaign for Nike Europe to showcase its Apparel clothing and footwear range.

The campaign, introducing Nike's new character, Stickman, breaks in the UK this week with a terrestrial, satellite and cinema offensive.

The four commercials involve basketball and football players. "Stick-Hoops" puts Stickman on a Los Angeles court, where he challenges the acclaimed basketball players Trix, The Future and The Bone Collector.

"Stick-ball" is set on the streets of Paris and features Stickman playing football with the Paris Saint Germain team and the Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho.

Each spot shows the players and Stickman taking their game to new heights and flags up the nikefreestyle.com web address.

Incorporating Stickman's moves involved filming actual athletes' actions, plus two months in post-production.

In the UK, the campaign will run on the ITV network channels, Channel 4, E4, Sky, IDS, Viacom, The Pub Channel and CNX.

A second phase of activity will launch on 10 April to support Freestyle Face-Off events around Europe. Two Freestyle Face-Off events, which give members of the public the chance to demonstrate their own sporting credentials, have been planned for London and Manchester.

There will also be supporting outdoor and radio activity.

"Every athlete has to take on creativity to push their game to a new level. Stickman represents this battle with creativity," the Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam copywriter Tim Wolfe said.

"Every time he enters the court, the players and the game are elevated to the next level. Anything can happen."

The campaign was written by Wolfe and art directed by Frank Hahn. Media was planned by W&K and MindShare across Europe, excluding Spain, and bought by MindShare. It was directed by Paul Hunter and Josh Taft through HSI Productions. Animation is by the Brothers Strause through Hy*drau*lx. Music is by The Neptunes.

"Hunter is one of the most collaborative and visionary directors I've ever come into contact with," Hahn said. "Taft is a total football freak and this passion showed on the set as he worked tirelessly against the unpredictable French weather to produce beautiful results."