Like an emotionally charged, locker room pre-Test pep talk, Ogilvy’s campaign featuring professional athlete Malakai Fekitoa, in collaboration with Detroit-based motivational speaker, Eric Thomas, illustrates WHY fierce motivation can be a powerful driving force to defy odds and prove even the staunchest of critics’ wrong.
Ogilvy worked directly with Eric Thomas, who is world famous in the sports industry for his passionate talks, often using the extraordinary tales of athletes to motivate and inspire his audience. In the launch film, it is Malakai’s story that he delivers to us in his unmistakable timbered rise-from-the-ashes voice.
The film provides us with an intimate look at Malakai’s life and how his ‘why’ is built on the back of steely motivation to prove every last one of his sceptics’ wrong. From the schoolyard bullies back in Tonga who continue to taunt him about his childhood limp to this day, to the doubters who regularly said he didn’t have the presence to play Centre – believing he would break the line instead of passing on.
Says Malakai: “Even when you do well, there are always people that doubt you and want you to fail. They are the reason I push myself so hard. My why has been to prove those people wrong. People that from a young age said I wasn’t good enough to play in New Zealand. I knew I had something in me. I just needed to find a way to use it.”
It is this insight, that success requires more than talent, opportunity or hard work, and instead has to be driven by a deep-seated, purpose or ‘why’, that lead to the creation of the ‘what’s your why?’ campaign. Ogilvy, with the help of its Digital and Culture arms, has wrapped this insight into a platform that aims to ignite action; encouraging New Zealanders to think about what is their single, spine-tingling motivational ‘why’ – whatever it is – and use this as the drive for achieving sporting dreams.
Rugby legend Michael Jones believes motivation is a cornerstone springboard for young talent, like Malakai, to make the transition from community to professional sport.
Says Jones: “It takes huge motivation and self-belief for a young Pacific islander to move to NZ alone. Leaving behind his support structures…his family, kaaiga, village, church, and community in the islands…for NZ, even if there is a well-integrated and established Pasifika community here in NZ.”
The film was shot by director Dave Ma from Finch, over a month long production schedule; spread across locations in Tonga and Auckland.
Says Ma: “For our Tongan scenes, we decided early on to cast local non-actors to give the spot a layer of authenticity (and unpredictability). It was amazing filming in Tonga and incredible how open people were in welcoming us into their schools and homes.”
Says Regan Grafton, ECD, Ogilvy NZ: “No matter what hand you’re dealt with in life, I hope that this campaign will inspire New Zealanders to live up to their true potential. All you need is that single-minded reason why to defy your odds.”
This is the first in a series of films to be released over the next 12 months for Rebel Sport. Each following the story of how a Kiwi athletes’ fundamental reason ‘why’ has pushed him/her to overcome huge life barriers.