Responses by Arnold Worldwide
Background: Youth sports have become a multibillion dollar industry run by adults who have forgotten what it’s like to be a kid. The pressures put on young kids are just too much. The focus on winning, having elite teams and traveling all over the place for competition is getting out of hand. We needed to get parents and coaches to ask themselves “Am I part of the problem?”
Reasoning: Parents, coaches and leagues are treating kids like pros, so we decided to do just that by having a nine-year-old kid announce his retirement from sports just like a pro would in this one-minute spot.
Challenges: We knew we needed to shake up parents and coaches while also being careful not to alienate them. The message had to inspire viewers to become part of the solution.
Favorite details: Being able to launch this on ESPN SportsCenter was incredible. Not only was the exposure huge, but also it conceptually made the message far more authentic and powerful. All the staff at ESPN were incredibly supportive of the idea from the very beginning and worked tirelessly to make it possible.
Visual influences: We watched countless athlete press conferences for inspiration—Michael Jordan’s first retirement, Andy Murray’s emotional announcement and more. The situation needed to feel authentic and believable in order to be effective.
Anything new: We were very lucky to have some of the greatest athletes in the world help spread our message. Listening to Kobe Bryant, for instance, speak so passionately about how parents and coaches need to focus on things other than “winning” shows just how out of hand things have become.