We see a close-up shot of a bead of sweat and the look of determination in their eyes. The inspirational music swells, rain is pouring down, and we witness the natural beauty and raw talent of professional athletes. Yup, it’s a Nike commercial.

But, with their latest ad spot “Play New,” the premier sports brand throws out the playbook in the best way possible. Instead of peak performance, we see average folks trying…and failing. A wildly misplaced shot, a whiff of a tennis serve, a gutterball at the bowling alley. But, we also see the pure bliss and thrill of trying something new. This latest Nike commercial swaps aspirational athleticism for the rush of standing up on a surfboard, even if we fall. Or hitting a line drive in the backyard only for the ball to smash through the kitchen window. It’s an utterly charming ad that doesn’t punch down at the amateurs failing at something new. Because we’ve all been there. It encourages us to get back on the skateboard or on the climbing wall and try again. And the icing on the cake of this minute-long clip is that Swedish punk band Viagra Boys supplies the background music with their grungy, hilarious track “Sports.” I have to imagine The Lonely Island’s “We Like Sportz” was a close second choice.

High Five

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