Relive Michael Phelps’ Haunting ‘Rule Yourself’ Ad With Creators’ Backstory

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.

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GrameziPT
1 month ago

One of the best Ads of all time of all sports. The best of all time in swimming

He said what?
Reply to  GrameziPT
1 month ago

You just said it for all of us. Thank you.

MY MOM!
Reply to  GrameziPT
1 month ago
There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  GrameziPT
1 month ago

Kinda like the athlete involved too — one of the best of all time of all sports, the best of all time in swimming.

TheMathematician

Please give the “best of all time” marketing propaganda a rest. The marketing machine invested more money into the Phelps brand than any other swimmer in history and built up a ridiculous myth that he was somehow the “ideal” human physique for fast swimming — when the reality is that there are many ways to swim fast, and great swimmers in every era just in America never mind elsewhere in the world. Let’s not buy into the marketing BS. Even in Phelps’ era, he barely accomplished more than other swimmers from his own country (like Lochte) and others around the world in recent decades. The Phelps hype machine (“greatest of all time”) is for non-swimmers who don’t know any better.

He said what?
Reply to  TheMathematician
1 month ago

What made you so bitter?

John
Reply to  GrameziPT
1 month ago

I can’t upvote this enough!

spectatorn
Reply to  GrameziPT
1 month ago

yes, very powerful and one of the best.

As a swim fan and non-athletic person, I really like Ikee/SK II Change Destiny video
https://youtu.be/SNMpmEMptMM
director cut version – https://youtu.be/s0qJUvtsQ4c

ReneDescartes
1 month ago

Tried to get Allison to play this song at a Kills show by shouting play the Michael Phelps song to no avail.

Chris
1 month ago

great ad. Even average swimmers have been to hell and back to try to achieve success. This is powerful.

Walter
Reply to  Chris
1 month ago

Really? Could that be a bit of exaggeration?

NoFlyKick
Reply to  Chris
1 month ago

Even average swimmers have been to hell and back to try to achieve success.
Not acknowledged enough. Age group swim club are littered with mental health drama and broken bodies. These kids tend to just get labeled as losers who didn’t care enough or try enough, couldn’t be further from the truth.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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