It was just over four years ago that the now-award-winning Under Armour ad featuring American Olympic icon Michael Phelps broke the internet.
The unforgettable ad presenting the stark dedication, hardships and mental battles Phelps faced in and out of the pool mesmerized athletes around the world. It was a chilling reminder of how much of the man’s success came from simply grinding away in solitude, fighting his own demons all the while.
Phelps’ ad was one of Under Armour’s“Rule Yourself” campaign pieces, whose theme of “It’s what you do in the dark, that puts you in the light” was fittingly set against The Kills’ song ‘The Last Goodbye’. At the time, Chief Creative Officer Ted Roy of Droga5, the agency responsible for creating the ad, said Phelps’ production was ‘one of the most special pieces of work the agency has ever done. It was a passion project all the way through. It was one that everybody cared about.’
With the Tokyo Olympic Games on the horizon, Droga5, Under Armour and even Mrs. Nicole Phelps reflect back on the masterpiece which still haunts viewers years later.
Hear how the original plans of background audio were scrapped, how Phelps’ unshaven appearance fed into the credibility of the vignette as well as how the unforgettable track was selected.