Rebel Sport continues its brand story with poetry

Rebel Sport is continuing to tell its brand story via a new poetic spot that’s narrated by the stirring voice of ex-All Black star Brad Thorn.

Written by Ogilvy’s executive creative director Angus Hennah and directed by a Sweet Shop team headed by Joel Harmsworth, the one-minute spot couples gruff spoken word poetry with a gritty montage of sportspeople enduring the heaviness of playing a sport outdoors in winter.

“We wanted to celebrate the grassroots winter athlete,” says Hennah. “Our uncompromising approach to winter sports is something that has shaped us as individuals and as a nation. We wanted to focus less on gameplay and more on the emotion of playing sport not just against the opposition but also against the elements.”

Hennah says that the footage was shot over four days—two days in Queenstown (Skipper’s Canyon, Athol, and The Remarkables) and another two days in Auckland (including Bethel’s beach)—and he attributes the gritty, sometimes intense cinematography to the Sweet Shop’s director of photography Marty Williams.

To balance this on-screen intensity, the production team gave the narration responsibilities to All Black Brad Thorn, whose measured spoken word approach almost brings a veteran’s sensibility to the ad. 

“[He] was the perfect voice for the commercial. It grounds the poetic nature of the words with an authentic rawness,” says Hennah 

By taking a break from the retail approach of focusing on discounts, this spot returns to telling the brand story that Rebel Sport has invested in over the last few years. Last year, the sports retailer released the ‘Sprinting or Flying?’ spot, which pointed out how little time a sprinter actually spends on the ground.

Two years before that, the company released ‘Comes With’, a spot, also made by Ogilvy, that elucidated what sports mean to different people.  

Although the brand story ads make for more engaging viewing than spots that remind us that everything in-store is on a 50 percent discount, Hennah says that “retail ads are a big part of Rebel Sport and will continue to be so.” He also adds that because so much footage was shot over the four-day period, Ogilvy has sufficient content for the upcoming seasonal retail spots.        

As an interesting side note, poetry and sports were also coupled together in the latter half of last year when Nike commissioned slam poet Lemon Andersen to lend his lyrical talents to a spot about LeBron James. 



Agency: Ogilvy & Mather New Zealand
Client: Rebel Sport
Title: Ode to Winter
Executive Creative Director: Angus Hennah
Concept: Angus Hennah, Andy Blood
Copywriter: Angus Hennah
Art Director: Angus Hennah, Gaelyn Churchill
Group Account Director: Sandra Daniel
Account Director: Darryl Rogers
Group Marketing Manager: Tanya Laurence
Agency Producer: Steen Bech

Production Company: The Sweet Shop
Director: Joel Harmsworth
Executive Producer: Fiona King, Wilf Sweetland
Producer: Phil Liefting
DOP: Marty Williams
Editor: – Graeme Pereira – The Butchery
Grade: Martin Greer – The Refinery
Online: Eugene Richards – The Refinery
Composer: Rob Law
Sound Design: Francis Linehan

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