This one goes out to all the Ducks fans—but all you really need to appreciate it is to have liked the movie Animal House.
Nike celebrates its deep ties to the University of Oregon in a new, feel-good ad—featuring a horde of notable alumni (mostly sports stars, but also Modern Family actor Ty Burrell and ESPN anchor Neil Everett)—that recreates the famous toga-party scene from the 1978 National Lampoon classic.
Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, now playing as a quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, arguably has the best role, standing in for John Belushi as resident guitar smasher.
But Otis Day and the Knights, who anchored the original scene with a performance of "Shout," reprise that role in the commercial, perfectly setting the tone. (The band, originally a fiction created for Animal House, ultimately ended up touring in the wake of the movie's success, fronted by actor DeWayne Jessie.)
Wieden + Kennedy Portland created the spot, which clocks in at almost five and a half minutes—thanks in large part to the extensive freeze-frame credits, another stylistic nod to the movie (and a necessary exercise for viewers who haven't memorized the history of one college's sports heroes).
Nike released the spot to coincide with Saturday's college football game in Lansing between the Oregon Ducks and the Michigan State Spartans, who edged out the visiting team 31-28. But the ad is anything but a wasted effort, acting as a standalone paean to Nike's long history with the college.
One of the brand's two co-founders, Phil Knight, ran at the University of Oregon. The other, Bill Bowerman, coached track and field there for 24 years (including Knight). Designer Tinker Hatfield—perfectly described in the clip as the guy who created the shoes you're wearing—was a pole-vaulter at the school.
In other words, it's inside baseball, but a nice way for a huge global brand to celebrate its local heritage and make itself seem more down to earth in the process. And while Animal House also happened to be largely filmed in Eugene, where the University of Oregon is located (including scenes at the school itself), the film's pop culture clout is broad enough to draw in a wider audience beyond its cornucopia of parochial trivia.
Or, if you want a shorter route down that rabbit hole, you can start here.