Sport is not just about the score on the board when the final whistle finally blows.
It’s about sharing our human experiences of overcoming adversities, finding strength when none seems to be left, forging bonds and relationships for life, constantly trying and probing yourself, people around you and the world.

Sport is more than a hobby, a career, or an industry. That’s why some sport stories reach beyond its seeming domain, and touch us at the core.

Here are 7 sports ads that went beyond just sport.

1. NIKE – Write the Future
Alejandro G. Iñárritu is an acclaimed director, writer and producer, whose films received Oscars in multiple categories. But for us it was this World Cup 2012 promo he shot for Nike that changed everything.

2. P&G – Thank you, Mom – Summer 2012
Continuing on the same note of storytelling excellence for 2012 London Olympics, Iñárritu commissioned by Wieden+Kennedy, created an ad to acknowledge and celebrate the most essential person on any athlete’s team whose hard work, support through any times, and sacrifices are at the core of every success, but often go unnoticed. Mom. Get the Kleenex box ready.

3.P&G – Thank you, Mom – Winter 2018
Consecutive Olympics also had their own versions of this worthy message. New ads reflected the burning issues global society was facing at the time. So 2018 Winter Games’ ad took on the most human issue: acceptance. The ad explored experiences of athletes with disabilities, non-traditional sexual orientation, unpopular religious beliefs and race. It hits pretty close to home, doesn’t it?

4. SPORT ENGLAND – This Girl Can
“This girl can” was and continues to be a wildly successful advertising campaign funded by The National Lottery and developed by Sport England, that aims to encourage more women to do sports. The ad explores the fear of judgement that is stopping too many women and girls from joining in. Kim Gehrig directed this incredibly spot on video that features a way more diverse range of body types than usually featured in media, and real sweating, jiggling and face complexion going wild. Boy, we can relate.

5. Always – Like a girl
Women empowerment found a great ally in sport content. The message was picked up and spread by many brands, each exploring various facets of the issue. This social experiment by Always questioned the derogative use of phrase “to do something like a girl”. So when “being a girl” began to mean being something lesser?


6. UnderArmour – I will what I want

This ad from UnderArmour features prima ballerina Misty Copeland, and tells a powerful story of willing oneself to the pinnacle of the field against all odds: starting dancing way too late, having “the wrong body” for ballet, etc. The naysayers were naysaying, but Misty wasn’t listening and has become the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in American Ballet Theatre’s 75-year history, and keeps captivating world stages with her genius.

7. PUMA – Hardchorus
English football fans are known for their passion. But never in a romantic way. Except for that time in 2010 when St. Valentine’s happened to be on the same day as several FA Cup matches, and mates had to get creative. “Truly, madly, deeply” by Savage Garden in the rendition of these hooligans has melted hearts.