kbs+ creative director, Marco Cignini, discusses cameo laden spot
I don't envy person the man that was tasked to organize the shoot for Nike SB’s most recent spot, ‘The Legend Grows’. Getting 15 athletes and renowned personalities all in the same place for consecutive shoot days can’t have been an easy job. Among the supernova of cameos in the spot are protagonist Eric Koston, Tiger Woods, Neymar, and a host of other skateboarders, snowboarders, Olympic gold medalists and graffiti artists. kbs+ Action Sports and Lifestyle Brands creative director, Marco Cignini, tells Addison Capper why this was the dream project…
LBB> What was the brief from the client and what were your initial thoughts when you saw it?
MC> Nike SB asked to help create a concept that would celebrate legendary skateboarding through the lens of Eric Koston. Having personally been an avid skater and a fan of Koston since I was 12, this really was my dream assignment. It was also a chance to show people a lighter side of skateboarding, one that reflected Koston’s personality.
LBB> Eric Koston is escaping security guards and the other stars are kind of reveling in the story – why was this rebellious approach the right one?
MC> It’s not really about rebelliousness. The concept is based on the truth in skateboarding that, much like a fishtail, skaters tend to embellish the tricks that people did at certain skate spots. Over time those stories grew to legendary status. Koston was the skater who personified this perfectly because he really is a legend and one of the most influential skaters of all time. Additionally, he has a great sense of humor both on and off the board and this concept plays right into that.
LBB> What was it like working with so many big celebrity names? Did they throw up any hissy fits or were they all easy going?
MC> Actually, all of the athletes were very approachable and fun to work with. They were excited to be a part of this shoot because most of them had a relationship with skateboarding from their youth. Some also knew Eric from past Nike events. Plus, who would've known that Tiger Woods used to skate in empty swimming pools as a kid?
Honestly, they all were stoked to hang out. Kyrie Irving’s dad shot a few hoops with us (his father was a professional basketball player in Australia), Danny Kass entertained us with his grenade-like humour and Giovanni Reda’s one-liners just kept coming.
LBB> What was the shoot like? What were the biggest challenges you faced with this project and how did you overcome them?
MC> There were a number of challenges on this one. The weather in LA was very un-LA during the shoot. When Eric was skating it was hovering around 40 degrees and raining so that made the skate scenes a bit difficult.
We had to tarp the ground and then dry it when the rain subsided. Even Neckface (graffiti artist) pitched in to dry the ground with his lighter and a spray paint can.
Eric took it all in his stride and handled it like a pro. The other big challenge was logistics. Getting all of these athletes and personalities together for a few consecutive shoot days was no small task and Nike really rose to the challenge. Even though we broke the shoot up over the course of the holidays, Nike pulled it all together so that we could get all the athletes we needed, where we needed them. Kudos.
The biggest challenge was maintaining that fine line between a broader audience being able to appreciate what we were doing and the core skater being stoked as well.
LBB> Strategically, what do you think this spot will achieve for Nike Skateboarding as a brand?
MC> My hope is that this spot opens skateboarding up to a broader audience, while at the same time, reinforces Nike’s commitment to skateboarding’s core audience. I think this spot does that in different ways through the use of different personalities from both the broader sports world and some from the core endemic skate world. Skateboarders are real athletes that are out there doing it every damn day, and hopefully this spot helps elevate people’s perception of that.
LBB> Can we look forward to anymore content from 'The Legend Grows' campaign?
MC> There is a ‘making of’ video that has been doing the rounds. It gives some good perspective into what went down and what the athletes think of Koston and skateboarding. There is definitely some great, funny footage of Reda as the dentist that hopefully one day sees the light of day. Beyond that, we’ll have to wait and see…
LBB> The spot was put together by the recently formed kbs+ Action Sports and Lifestyle Brands Group - could you tell us a little more about that?
MC> I’ve been an avid skater and snowboarder since my teen years. I loved the sports and had a passion for the culture as well. But I also saw there was a huge void. We started kbs+ Action over a year ago because there was no full service agency that catered to, or really understood, action sports and enthusiast culture. On top of that, the category hadn’t evolved much in how it speaks to people. There was a huge need for mobile, digital and experiential innovation, but there was no single agency partner who could speak to this in an authentic way. With our long background in action sports, we knew we could help evolve how endemic brands bring their stories to the masses, and how non-endemic brands could connect to the culture, in a real and meaningful way.
To influence this culture, you really need to be a part of it. It’s the only way to understand how people live, work and play. This team skates, snowboards, surfs, and cycles together, but we also have strong backgrounds in the advertising and digital world. Because this team truly lives it, we understand every pain-staking nuance this audience looks for; how things should be shot and edited, trick names, what is and isn’t possible and by which athletes. They’re subtleties that make the difference between being credible and being fake.
This is our native tongue and our knowledge of this category allows us to really influence a lifestyle culture that comes with it’s own language, aesthetic and values.
Director, Jon Humphries
Executive Producer, Ike Martin
Production Company, AfterAll
Chief Creative Officer, Ed Brojerdi
Group Creative Director, Marco Cignini
Associate Creative Director / Art Director, Kevin Gentile
Associate Creative Director / Copywriter, Mike Abell