This was one of the very first spots I did with Joe Pytka. Nike had been losing the sneaker war to Reebok which had managed to cash in on the aerobics craze, and had managed to make their shoes fashionable. Nike took the approach of hard edged ads focusing on athlete heroes with the tone of a benevolent drill sergeant with the call to action to “Just Do It.”
Men at Work was one of these celebrity athlete focused ads that portrays these world class players in a pick-up game. Pytka often has this Rembrandt, almost reverential look to his spots that are very real yet put the subject or the theme on a pedestal that no other director since has ever really been able to mimic.
One thing that left a strong impression on me was getting a call from Joe who was in his car on his way to Malibu. He was listening to the radio and told me he’d just heard the music for the spot. It was a Roy Ayers song that eventually we got a composer to adapt for the ad, but it taught me that a great director or editor is always looking out into the world for inspiration, and it’s almost like you see everything through the lens of your current job, and your own daily experience like what you see and hear while driving to work. Suddenly a cool piece of music becomes the music for your job. As much as creating is a process in which we generate something from nothing, it is much more about taking in and editing what we see.