Winning work: All Hail Queen Beyoncé – the inspiration behind ‘Da Da Ding’

Creative director Mohamed Rizwan goes back to the beginning to look at how Wieden+Kennedy Delhi crafted the now iconic Da Da Ding work for Nike – Campaign of the Year at the recent Mumbrella Asia Awards


In the immortal words of Queen Bey: ‘Who run the world? Girls.’ The facts may point in the opposite direction, but who are we to doubt Beyoncé? Who are we to delve into unequal pay, underrepresentation or power hungry despots? All that matters to The Queen is you can run the world. You can be strong, fearless and do whatever it is you want. Facts and alternative facts be damned.

This defiant spirit guided the making of ‘Da Da Ding’ from the very beginning. When Nike first set us the task of getting girls to participate in sport in India, it was clear that we couldn’t make just another advertisement. This was not the occasion to be preachy. Instead, we had to make something that girls could own; something that could live long beyond the lifespan of just your standard campaign; something that could become part of pop culture itself. So we did the only thing we could. We asked ourselves: ‘What would Beyoncé do?’

Well, she would go out there and show people how it’s done. She would make sport look strong and sexy. She would kick a ball with all her might, she would jump and dance, and she would have all her girls do it with her.

So that’s exactly we did. We decided to make a music video that captured her spirit. We wanted to speak to girls with the same fierceness and defiance captured in Beyoncé’s music. In a way that was far removed from the stereotypical world of India’s Fair & Lovely ads

We realised that it was time to create a new portrait of girls in India. We wanted to show them that they can be an athlete no matter who they are. We wanted them to be themselves – cool, smart, confident and yes, sexy.

So we went about assembling our very own sports squad. We recruited Bollywood star and former national badminton player Deepika Padukone. We got national hockey player Rani Rampal and national footballer Jyoti Ann Burrette. Alongside the famous faces, we then added your everyday runners, surfers and dancers to the mix and simply just got them to do their thing.

However, what brought all this together and solidified the magic was the specially commissioned song by the producer Gener8ion and American rapper Gizzle. The final piece of the puzzle was our director Francois Rousselet, whose experience making videos for Snoop Dogg and Kanye West was an asset to the final work.

Bizarrely, during the process, it seemed like we were more of a record label than an advertising agency. And you know what, we began acting like one because it was clear this would create maximum impact. We released the track on iTunes, on radio stations and on the social pages of our Da Da Ding crew. Sure enough, people started shazaming and sharing it. They had no idea what was coming next. That part was left to our campaign star Deepika Padukone who debuted the video to the world at the International Indian Film Academy Awards in Madrid. The next day morning, she posted it on her Facebook channel and the internet did the rest.

In 24 hours, it was on TIME, BBC and Buzzfeed. It had taken over Twitter and before you knew it, Facebook’s  chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg had posted it on her own page.

Meanwhile, girls started doing something they hadn’t done in years. They were going running, working out and rejoining the dance class they had dropped out of. They rediscovered that sweaty, endorphin-heightened sensation and wanted the world to know about it. The hashtag #dadading kept appearing in gym selfies months after the campaign ended. It had become a metaphor for being strong and unstoppable for all girls, whether they lived in Mumbai or Melbourne.

Did we really do all of this? Don’t be silly. There’d be no Da Da Ding without Queen Bey herself. This is her planet and we are mere mass and matter. So for Run The World and Formation, and for showing girls around the world that nothing is beyond them, let us take a moment to honour the endless inspiration and light she provides. Where would we be without her?

Mohamed Rizwan is the creative director of Wieden+Kennedy Delhi



Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing