An exclusive look at Jonas Lindstroem’s series of street-life vignettes for Reebok
Production company Iconoclast gives It’s Nice That a deep-dive into the creation of the quietly bold campaign for the sports and streetwear brand.
- 26 November 2021
- Dalia Al-Dujaili
Taken from the 12-minute film for the Reebok “Life Is Not A Spectator Sport” campaign, street-cast actors feature in short moments of meditation or action in these previously unseen vignettes. The campaign launched earlier this year, under the new direction of Jide Osifeso, who’s worked with Kendrick Lamar, SZA and Jaden Smith. The series of films, which he co-created with Kerby Jean-Raymond, was inspired by his own personal experiences and relationship to sport growing up.
Shot in Miami last year, director Jonas Lindstroem’s aim was to “showcase real life. A sense of community.” He went out with the intention to make “a film about characters who are not the next superstars, who are not getting paid to do sports – but who do it because it makes them feel alive, to disconnect from their daily grind.” In a refreshing move away from celebrity-heavy advertising, which sports brands often lean on, this campaign intends to play on notions of “memories, of family, of what it means to grow up in today’s world. There are multiple generations running through the film that all converge in that fictional place we tried to portray, the community, the neighbourhood, where their stories are lived and told,” Lindstroem tells us. What’s more, Lindstroem explains that another message running throughout is disconnection and reconnection, primarily through sport: “reconnecting with a more pure form of being, one with your body, outside, alive,” says Lindstroem. Hence the tagline: “Life is not a spectator sport.”
Jide Osifeso, artistic marketing director at Reebok, worked closely with Lindstroem, who claims they complemented each other well. “A certain visual approach I bring and my approach to writing a script mixed with Jide’s way of writing and shaping ideas that really felt like moments and truthful pieces of life,” explains the director, resulted in the film and vignettes we now see. Osifeso’s approach to “reinventing the brand” was inspiring to Lindstroem, as well as Osifeso’s “approach to our generation today, what is important to them, what shapes them, and how to portray them.”
Osifeso adds that when he first had the idea of “Reconnect”, he visualised it through Lindstroem’s lens, “so there wasn’t much of a need to adapt our respective visions because we began from a place of complete alignment. There’s a certain beauty and sense of familiarity to [Lindstroem’s] pieces that this film needed, in order to be all that it could be.”
Creatively, the team was made up of Kerby Jean-Raymond, the vice president of Reebok, and cinematographer James Laxton, as well as production designer Carlos Lazlo. Lindstroem and the team wanted the whole film to feel “really vivid” like “life seen through the eyes of a child”. With this approach, they aimed at creating a memory-based narrative, reflecting memories playing in your head, “of your childhood, your upbringing, your recollection of places, experiences, moments,” explains Lindstroem. “There is a certain surrealism woven into it that makes some moments feel slightly larger than real life, slightly more magic – only the way a child could see the world.” Osifeso wants people to find familiarity in Reebok’s products and its storytelling, hence why they chose this style of storytelling for this latest campaign.
Osifeso notes that “there are very few universally understood experiences that we all share as people. One of those experiences would be the innocence and curiosity of being a child.” So the creative team leaned heavily into “those moments of childlike wonder with the environments and situations our boys find themselves in. Some subtle, and some not so.”
Although the film has a remarkably unscripted and candid feel, the team wanted the protagonists to bring themselves into the process, “giving their characters a personality that comes from their own experience,” as Lindstroem puts it. So the team allowed themselves certain freedoms. “We always had a plan for each moment,” continues the director, “but on set, we experimented with certain scenes and tried to capture life happening in front of us.”
The campaign has launched across Reebok’s Instagram and YouTube channels.
Jonas Lindstroem: Life Is Not a Spectator Sport (Copyright © Reebok, 2021)
About the Author
Dalia joined It’s Nice That as a news writer in July 2021 after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh. She's written for various indie publications such as Azeema and Notion, and ran her own magazine and newsletter platforming marginalised creativity.