Responses by Feliciano Robayna, head of sports marketing, On and Andy Fackrell, writer/creative director
Background: We targeted 18-34 year old females who lead an active lifestyle, and those interested in core and casual running and triathlons. We’re also targeting a mainstream brand audience, as it’s a human interest story that transcends sports. There’s also a YouTube and Facebook media buy, plus a content plan and editorial calendar across On’s social channels. We wanted to encourage our athletes to follow their dreams, on and off the track, even if that means starting a family in the prime of their careers.
Reasoning: Nicola Spirig's life story is enough to just tell it straight, and advertising embellishment was not required. Although stylized, the film’s intent was to show a typical day in her life: the balance between her single-minded dedication to her training regime, and the devoted attention to her kids in between. The outtake being, whether a mother or an athlete, you shouldn’t have to choose.
Challenges: In terms of filming, keeping up with Nicola was the hardest part. She gave every take 100 percent for four solid days, leaving the director of photography fairly exhausted. With a production light on drama, in one of the most beautiful places on earth, another challenging aspect was doing justice to this incredible woman. The edit was always going to be an interesting experience; the splitting of the film into three acts, the changing from mother to athlete, the archival and race footage, as well as cutaways to the St. Moritz denizens, made it a longer than average process to get right.
Favorite details: The pacing of the story. Wanting it to feel like a short film—it ended up at three minutes—the challenge was seeing how long we could hold on our shots, without relying on fast cuts to convey intensity. Nicola was so gentle and sincere; we felt that sincerity should dictate the tempo of the film. We also liked how using the kids drawings took the pretension out of the “Superfrau” title and of the Olympic winner's podium.
Visual influences: The Alps and the pristine Swissness of St. Moritz. It all screamed symmetry for us. And obviously, a nod to Wes Anderson was hard to resist. We also loved the grading on the Coen Brother’s anthology film The Ballad of Buster Scraggs, with the teal colored mountains, so we employed that to unify the film’s blue tones, and to give it that icy, alpine feel.
Time constraints: Wonderfully, we had no media time constraints to tell this story, but the challenge was to keep hold of the viewer’s attention. The film had to keep surprising viewers, to keep them on their toes. The music did a good job portraying not only the three distinct acts, but also the micro scenes.