Will What You Want

Droga5 Plucks Celebrities As Unconventional Models of Fitness for Under Armour, Strikes Gold

Newsflash: You don’t need permission if you have willpower. This is the insight creative directors Felix Richter and Alexander Nowak of Droga5 brilliantly convey in their ADC 94th Annual Award, Gold Cube winning “Will Beats Noise” for Integrated and Social Content Communities.

“Everybody has an opinion about how women should lead their lives but you don’t need anyone’s permission if you have will. The inspiration came from the fact that in the online sphere even the most ‘brainfarty,’ silly comment can seem meaningful simply by appearing neatly typed in a thread.”

It’s one thing to read about it, but to see it in action makes it real. The spot features Gisele in nothing but sweat and some very strategically placed Under Armour threads. As she throws her mighty fists at a punching bag, the ‘pop’ ‘pop’ sound seems to reverberate off the walls in a hollow, bare bones space, and explode into real-life messages from real comments on Twitter, from lovers and haters alike. Gisele remains focused and unbothered. The team sought to show the contrast between Gisele’s athleticism with what people say online without glorifying or skewing the story in anyone’s favor, in an attempt to appear as neutral as possible. Inspired by the raw feel of a few of Chris Burden’s performances like ‘Through the Night Softly’, they decided to approach the video with minimal lighting and original SFX. Capturing the technological aspect of the online conversation about Gisele on one website was big thanks in part to creative digital production house Active Theory, who quote “pulled off incredible things there.”

Admittedly, for a long time, the creatives at Droga5 weren’t clear on how to execute the idea. But they knew they had something special with Gisele. A powerful, smart businesswoman, she regularly breaks the mold of the lingerie supermodel the public has cast for her. Plus, living life as a mega star means she is constantly confronted with thousands of contradicting opinions about a pretty much every aspect of her life. It works because, if you’re a woman, not even a particularly famous woman, you too can relate to online or offline scrutiny.

In a way Gisele is a perfect fit not only because she visibly faces online what every woman faces on a smaller scale, but also because of the way she deals with it: she keeps doing her thing and wills what she wants.

To keep that rawness and realness, the spot for Will Beats Noise is a culmination of real social comments, from both haters and supporters in response to the signing of Gisele to Under Armour just two days earlier. As you watch, you see how Gisele remains focused, willing what she wants. This led to an innovative web experience with social commentary streaming in from all over the web in real time. The interactive film on the site is the centerpiece featuring Gisele working out and ignoring the comments, proving Will Beats Noise.

We thought that by juxtaposing these comments with the image of a strong human pushing past her physical boundaries could be enough to reveal their actual throw-away nature and tell the story of how ‘Will beats Noise’.”

On the website, which doubles as a beautifully rendered shopping page for Under Armour womenswear, users are invited to interact. A circle in the middle is your navigation, and as you slide your mouse pointer around it, you are presented with options: Plank, Rings, Heavy Bag, and Staff are all moves that Gisele expertly demonstrates. An Explore Comments button takes you to a blurred screen where tiny dust-like floaters in red and blue show real time comments from Twitter; some supportive, others not so much. At the bottom, you’ll find a Join The Community button where you can become part of the Under Armour squad.

“The website continues the juxtaposition of Gisele’s athletic power and the noise of the online world in real-time. While the spot is a glimpse into her world with comments made within a few days between the launch of the teaser film and the commercial, the website features the conversation following the film’s release and tells the story of ‘Will beats Noise’ live.”

Whenever celebrities like Gisele Bündchen are featured in a campaign, there is some media attention, but of course the team at Droga5 nor Under Armour did not foresee that much buzz around the campaign. With write ups on multiple online media platforms from AdWeek to CBS and an appearance on Jimmy Fallon, the spotlight is on not just another fitness brand, but a truth. Lucky for Under Armour, a month after the launch of “I Will What I Want” feat. Misty Copeland, and now the second phase starring supermodel Gisele, the unconventional, powerful images were resonating with women around the world, perhaps finally pivoting the activewear brand away from their “uber-masculine image” and becoming not a barrier for women, but a beacon. But how is it not like other femvertising stunts or pink-washing spots that have been creeping up in our rearview? If no one is supposed to tell women how to be, why does it feel like everyone still is? “Perhaps “I Will What I Want” is different to some of these campaigns because it doesn’t first and foremost point out a problem, but celebrates real women doing incredible things. The women featured in the campaign are just very real and badass.”

Well, you can’t argue with that.

Special Thanks to Danny Hernandez.