Iris agency called upon the talents of Sarah Chatfield to direct its inspiring new “Reimagine Sport” campaign for Adidas, with the centerpiece film drawing high praise for avoiding stereotypes and being inclusive with the brand’s sportswear offering. The spot showcases diverse women of varying body types and abilities enjoying the passion and rewards of a good work out. At the heart of the visual story is mesmerizing movement which hits the mark – from boxing, ballet and yoga to running and biking – all set apropos to Madame Gandhi’s “Top Knot Turn Up.”
Sarah explains she seized the opportunity to direct the campaign and be a part of the “shift to a more inclusive portrayal of women and more real people in advertising.” “We’re so used to seeing polished perfection on screen not just in sports advertising but across the board,” she says. “The films which have all the cool shots, cool music and sexy lighting seemed to be reserved for only the supposed ‘aspirational’ body types. So in this film I wanted to give this cast of strong, diverse women their own ‘hero moment,’ really celebrating and empowering them.”
“Reimagine Sport” appears beautifully choreographed, yet Sarah relates that the athletes were given plenty of room to play and be themselves. Although there was careful planning around all the angles, camera movements, tricks and techniques for each athlete, Sarah and her team were ready to reimagine techniques and angles if necessary to suit how the athletes wanted to play. She says, “I just made sure to keep the camera moving, in a variety of different interesting ways, so that we could create the flow from scene to scene that we were looking for in the edit.”
The “Reimagine Sport” campaign reunited Sarah with Iris creative director Gabi Mostert who she’d worked with previously on adidas “Greater Every Run.” The two quickly put their already established creative dialogue back to work. The agency gave Sarah freedom to color outside the lines. For instance, she used a snorricam for some scenes – a piece of camera equipment traditionally used for scenes in movies when someone is drunk or on drugs. “I knew it would give a different viewpoint and angle on the movement, and also bring us in to their personal world in a unique way,” Sarah explains.
Sarah shared an anecdote behind the scene featuring social entrepreneur and activist Nadya Okamoto, originally slated to be filmed breaking out of her boxing routine and dancing in more of a hip-hop style. “This is what everyone had seen on her Instagram and expected,” Sarah relates. “But I dug back really deep into her archives and saw that she used to do ballet many years ago. On the day of the shoot I asked her if she would be comfortable doing ballet instead, as a more marked and unexpected contrast to the very masculine boxing environment. Luckily she was up for it. We were all super happy with her strong and beautiful performance, and felt we’d captured something special. We later learned that there was a very traumatic and personal reason that she had stopped doing ballet many many years ago, and that doing it again on this shoot had really liberated her. She was brought to tears afterwards and so grateful and proud to have broken through this wall that none of us knew she had.”
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