Nothing Beats a Bechdel

And we’re back, after a long summer hiatus! Thankfully, we’ve got a cracker to kick us off from Nike: Nothing Beats a Londoner.

Whoah. W&K London and RiffRaff films newly launched spot is a beautifully crafted, passionate, energetic and fresh 3” celebration of athletic one-upmanship, and it is glorious.

But it’s not just the men doing the one-upping: fierce, fiery women get their equal share of the story. Diversity fills every frame, both in terms of ethnicity and gender, and the featured female talent (of which we’re looking at a good 40-60 split) never have to kowtow their stories to those of men. Individual Londoners compare the challenges impeding their search for greatness, with increasing visual hyperbole. A rich white boy bemoans the trappings of his privilege (family yelling “FAILURE!” at you while you row will probably do that); a skilled soccer player replies by telling us how she has to pull off amazing tricks just to get one view on YouTube; a gymnast raises the stakes, shouting that missing her landing will lead to a broken leg; and a self-conscious rugby player cries a literal fountain of tears.

Both genders are shown to have real depth: we get unselfconscious emotion, universal vulnerabilities and bottomless determination. Nobody’s success is dependent on their gender, or propped up by another gender’s marginalisation – the entire premise suggests that the power to succeed lies with each individual. You’ve just gotta overcome whatever obstacles London throws in your way.

Ah, Nike. Just doing it. Brilliantly.

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