Hollywood director Michael Mann and boxer Rex Tso come together for tense new Nike ad

Just days after his historic victory against Kohei Kono, undefeated Hong Kong boxing champion Rex Tso has appeared as the star of a new Hollywood-directed campaign for Nike.

The super-flyweight ‘Wonder Kid’ appears in the 90-second video made by international director Michael Mann, famous for his films including Collateral, Miami Vice and Ali, a biopic of boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

Created by Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai, the video marks one of the first major works by recently promoted Vivian Yong in the role of executive creative director. 

The video hinges on the emotional thoughts of Rex at the most tense moment in the ring. In true Hollywood-style, the boxer is shown on the ground as the referee gives him the critical standing eight count. Just before the referee reaches eight, Rex is able to pull himself up and continue to fight.

Interspersed with Rex’s fight are clips of other well-known Hong Kong athletes, including high jump champion Cecilia Yeung, who also overcome similar emotional adversity to reach victory.

Entitled ‘Just Do It’, the campaign’s message is: “No matter win or lose, giving up is not an option,” the agency said in a statement.

“Hong Kong has been through a lot recently, and I feel deeply for my hometown. In this film, we envision the city as a group of athletes suffering setbacks and self-doubt, who believe that the only way to make a comeback is to give it everything you’ve got regardless of the outcome,” Yong added.

The agency has so far not commented on the cost of the campaign. Although Nike is largely vague on its advertising budget, their fiscal report last year revealed the brand spent US$3.031 billion on ‘demand creation’.

The brand and BBH Asia-Pacific recently won multiple awards for a campaign that saw people ‘race against themselves’ on a specially-created running track, shaped as the sole of a running shoe, in the Philippines. 

Agency credits:

W+K Shanghai
Executive Creative Director:  Ian Toombs, Vivian Yong
Creative Director: Terence Leong
Senior Art Director: Justin Phang
Senior Copywriter: Liu Wei
Head of Integrated Production: Sanne Drogtrop
Executive Producer: Bernice Wong
Art Producer: Angela Liu
Editor: Leon Yan
Senior Planner: Leon Lin


Director: Michael Mann
President RSA Films: Jules Daly
Executive producer: Marjie Abrahams
Producer: David Mitchell


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