The nine-minute film, "The next move," launches on Tuesday (11 September) ahead of Joshua’s Wembley challenger fight against Alexander Povetkin on 22 September. Created by Grey London, it continues Lucozade Sport’s "Made to move" campaign, which aims to get one million people moving by 2020.
The mini-documentary stars 19-year-old Michael Kuku, a south Londoner with ambitions to become a top-tier football coach. Kuku gets a surprise visit from Joshua and the two spend a day together, training and forming a friendship.
The film also raises awareness of B Active, a new initiative between Lucozade Sport’s brand owner, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, and Active Communities Network, where Kuku volunteers as a coach. The three-year programme kicked off in May and helps 16- to 24-year-olds gain access to sports and build essential life skills. So far B Active has signed on 4,000 participants in five regions around the country.
Beyond meeting its target of one million movers, Lucozade Sport wants the campaign to "leave a legacy behind" and inspire people to continue being active for generations to come, said head of marketing Lucy Grogut.
Joshua has worked with Lucozade Sport for the past couple years and last starred in the brand’s ad in 2017, which charted his life from his childhood in Watford, to getting in trouble as a teenager, and then training as a professional boxer.
Both Joshua and Kuku have used sport to progress themselves, and bringing them together is meant to "inspire the nation as to what can be achieved through sport" beyond just the physical benefits, Grogut added.
Video by Georgina Brazier
The film will appear on social and digital channels, along with shorter cut-downs and GIFs for the run-up to Joshua’s fight. It was written by Greg Ormrod, art directed by Thomas Worthington, and directed by Michel & Nico through Believe Media. MediaCom handled media buying.
When Michael met AJ
Kuku was cast from B Active participants and coaches across London. "We knew we were onto something amazing when we met Michael," said Jimmy Blom, deputy executive creative director at Grey London.
Joshua and Kuku did not meet before the film but share a similar background, both coming from Nigerian families. Grey’s team bet on this tie to create chemistry between the two during the film, and it paid off.
"They got on like a house on fire," Blom recalled.
The agency wrote a loose script to allow for candid, unplanned moments, he said. Kuku’s reaction when he meets Joshua for the first time, after the boxer shows up at his house, was real and unscripted. So was the last scene when Joshua knocks a punching bag to the ground.
Kuku told Campaign that Joshua was an "idol" of his for a long time. "I’m kind of a nobody, so it’s crazy to think Anthony Joshua has invited me," he said.
When Kuku agreed to the film he thought it was about a partnership between Lucozade and ACN but did not know Joshua would be involved. Over the course of the shoot, "it felt like being with a mate," he said. Now the two follow each other on Instagram and call each other on FaceTime sometimes, and Joshua has given Kuku tickets to his fight at Wembley.
Their journey is testament to the power of good coaching, Blom said.
"Whether you’re an official coach or you’re a friend, whoever it is that stands by your side and helps push you towards your goals and keep you focused, driven and confident," Blom said. "Everybody thinks they have to do it on their own, but they don’t have to. They just have to look around them and find the right people who will help get them where they need to go."
SInce meeting Joshua, Kuku said he has been motivated to take up new pursuits such as acting and filmmaking. He was most inspired by advice that Joshua shares with him in the film: "Don’t be that guy at 29 saying I wish I’d done it at 19, because you’ll live a life of regret."