In a five-minute animated short, World Cup soccer players must come together to take down the risk-averse clones that have replaced them, and made their game incredibly boring
The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world, even if it's still struggling to grab the imagination of viewers in America. Nike may be looking to change that, though, with an imaginative animated short that spotlights the importance of human risk-taking and innovation in the sport.
“The Last Game” tells the story of an evil scientist who clones some of the world's greatest players. By taking out the unpredictability of people, he posits that the sport of football (soccer) will benefit from their flawless decision making. Only what they manage to do is take all of the spirit out of the game.
They drive both the original players and the fans away from the stadiums, and the scientist even starts to invade basketball by introducing a cloned LeBron James.
But the original players don't give up that easily, rallying together to challenge the clones to a single match. One goal will decide the fate of the sport.
It's an innovative way to promote both the sport of soccer to Americans, as well as the Nike brand. Nike doesn't even come into the film until the very end, when their “Risk Everything” slogan blasts onto the screen to close out the short film. Instead, fans are drawn in by a beautifully animated story with a strong message about individuality and empowerment.
Getting American audiences to embrace soccer has been an uphill battle for years. The sport would probably love to include one of the world's largest economies as part of its rabid fan-base. Nike's short does a great job of explaining why it's such a great sport, even if you don't recognize any of the soccer all-stars present.
And even if it doesn't create a ton of new American converts to the sport, it should at least help them understand why it's so beloved everywhere else in the world. And the message about taking risks to reap great rewards is a lesson that transcends sports and speaks to everyone.