When Nike brought Brazilian football megastar Neymar Jr. to Los Angeles, they called on Diesel Films to document his every move. Already a global icon, Nike put on a series of activations to increase Neymar’s exposure in the US and bring the Los Angeles soccer community together.
“Nike wanted us to document his trip to California in the most dynamic way possible. The tour was mainly to bolster his popularity and give his US fans a closer look,” said executive producer Seth Shapiro.
Neymar’s West Coast tour included court side seats for Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Oakland, a drop-in at a kid’s soccer event at the LA Coliseum, an appearance at Niky’s Sports in Santa Monica, a now-famous kick across Hollywood Blvd. on Jimmy Kimmel, and the main event, a block party at the Nike East Los Angeles Community Store, culminating with the unveiling of a 100’ Neymar mural by Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra.
Diesel Films was on-location to cover all of the action.
Montage of the Brazilian street artist , Eduardo Kobra in action, set to “Mas, que Nada!”
Nike asked Diesel Films to deliver on a 30-second Brand Recap to post on Nike Football’s Instagram (28.7 million followers) in addition to shorter vertical videos to publish to Nike Football’s Instagram Story as soon as Neymar left the block party. Diesel was also tasked to deliver a two-minute brand recap that included the global impact of his LA tour. “With soccer being so popular internationally, this was a massive exposure opportunity for the Diesel Films team, aka the Fire Squad,” said Shapiro.
Diesel Films’ 30 second recap was posted on the Nike Football & Nike Los Angeles Instagram pages in addition to Neymar’s Twitter page. All three platforms have a combined 58.6 million followers. Nike Football’s Instagram featured Diesel Films’ video in a carousel post earning nearly 268,000 likes and an estimated 1.7 million views. “The power and reach of social media is so incredible. When a Nike digital coordinator can press post on their iPhone and outreach most major cable networks by tens of millions, it just really blows my mind!” exclaimed Shapiro.
“What also surprised me is just how massive he is,” said Shapiro. “Even though we were working for Nike, his safety was of the utmost importance so he was circled by body guards at all times. We had to be equipped to shoot through nooks and crannies just to get clean shots of Neymar.”
“It was imperative for us to participate in all the walk-throughs and be in sync with Optimist, the experiential agency, for our team to be in the right position for his every move,” Shapiro added.
One challenge of the tour was that Neymar did not speak any English. While there were no interviews with the soccer star, “a lot of times we wanted to show his natural reactions to the activations,” said Shapiro. “I don’t think language was too much of a barrier. It’s really just having enough cameras on him to showcase his journey in the best possible way.”
Diesel Films utilized a complement of four Sony cameras plus a DJI Mavic to capture the hectic yet magical moment of the mural unveiling. “We find that the Sony cameras look really clean in low light, with manageable file sizes for quick turn post-production, so for an event like this, we usually roll with Sony,” said Shapiro. On the shot he was most proud of, he commented, “Our Movi operator, Arran Alps, had an incredible tracking shot of Neymar’s ‘ring walk’ from the green room through the store and then out to Whittier Boulevard for the unveiling. Thank god his First AC, Sean Goode was able to clear the way for him through all the madness.”
The global popularity of football and the impact of Neymar cannot be ignored. “It’s just so cool to see this soccer player from Brazil come to the US and touch so many people. That’s a thing that Nike does time and time again: they give people experiences they would never have an opportunity to have any other way,” said Shapiro. “For someone to see him for literally a matter of minutes and say that it was the greatest moment of their life is a pretty amazing testimonial to Neymar Jr.’s star power.”
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