General view of a player wearing red Nike football boots and White Nike socks whilst warming up

A forensic analysis of Nike’s iconic ‘Take It to the Next Level’ bodycam advert

Pre-season is a period of experimentation among other whacky things such as pointless trophy lifts and awkward PR stunts, but this year we’ve been truly gifted in the form of player and referee POV footage.

Technology continues to advance and, as a result, our beautiful game must continue to innovate in a bid to progress.

Your da’ will outright reject the idea of players wearing body cameras on the field, but if we’re all honest with ourselves, it’s a pretty bloody cool new feature.

Football will always try to innovate, and it appears that POV camera angles could well be the future. You can already see the red button option on Sky Sports now, and Jamie Carragher wearing a VR headset at full-time to re-enact certain situations with the footage.

But what if we were to shock you, and actually reveal that this newfound love for POV footage isn’t a cutting-edge innovation, but something that’s already been done before, and to near perfection in the form of an advert?

Yep, that’s right.

Apologies in advance to Youri Tielemans and the referee who caught a perfect angle of Gabriel Jesus’ stunning goal, because Nike bettered your efforts back in 2008, in preparation for that summer’s European Championship. Ahead of their time is an understatement.

Their ‘Take It to the Next Level’ advert directed by Guy Ritchie was nothing short of spectacular, especially considering it was created in an era where the family camcorder still came out every Christmas and HDMI was still not far from being deemed extraterrestrial technology by some.

Right, you’ve watched the ad and you agree it’s magnificent. The nostalgia is pumping through your veins. Same here.

We’re not done, though, because there’s way too much going on not to dive deeper into it. Forensic analysis inbound.

It’s unclear at first what position we (the person on the road to glory) are playing. The ad starts with us putting a free-kick top bins at Sunday League level, which is enough to tempt Arsene Wenger into bringing you to the Emirates.

We won’t question that bit. Frankly, the ability on display at Planet Football is frightening and Wenger’s talent ID is not to be judged. No further questions.

On arrival at Arsenal, though, we suddenly become a central defender – and a very bad one at that, getting skinned mercilessly at Old Trafford by the likes of Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Throughout the sequence of the ad, it emerges that we essentially play in every position one could think of that isn’t goalkeeper. Interesting.

Enough football talk for the moment, anyway. The ad gets away with quite a bit, from the rather grim vomiting during a training sequence, to us seemingly signing a woman’s chest while in the presence of our girlfriend and the paparazzi.

This girlfriend, by the way, could not look anymore 2008 if she tried with that aggressive side fringe. Bring it back.

That’s not all, though, as we then seem to ditch her completely in the next scene for yet more risque behaviour. Starting to feel a little bit second hour of 2006 WWE RAW, Vince McMahon doesn’t value female wrestlers, this.

We’re probably a Soccer AM appearance away from the ad being certified PG-13 at this point.

After another disturbing vomit scene – seriously, seriously unnecessary – we swap into a hot new set of wheels, before playing Barcelona and eventually heading to Euro 2008 and surprisingly discovering we’re a Dutch international. Plot twist.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar leads the line for the Oranje, a proper throwback, before the ad ends with Wesley Sneijder giving us free-kick duties. Deja-vu, anyone?

Ritchie sensationally harks back to the very first scene where we’re sticking it top bins and announcing ourselves to Wenger. Brilliant stuff.

If you can look past his rather strange obsession for splatters of vulgarity throughout (we haven’t even mentioned spitting the tooth out in the shower and the de-pantsing of our teammate in training) then you can seriously appreciate the creative genius of the ad.

It had everything and stands the test of time today as not only something with stunning hits of nostalgia, but also something made with one eye on the future and creative freedom as the driving force.

Ads can be rather mundane these days. Sure, they try to tell a story. But how often do we actually remember them, really?

Let’s keep a few of these fancy new bodycams held back and re-distribute them among creatives so that we can get more masterpiece football adverts.

Just no more vomiting, objectifying and tooth spitting, please.

By Mitchell Wilks

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