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Mother. Lawyer. Gold Medal Triathlete. Meet Nicola Spirig, the Role Model Our World Needs – Adweek

In the continuum of sports, few events are as symbolic of determination and commitment as the triathlon. Swimming several miles, cycling many more, then topping it off with a run requires a level of training and focus few can imagine, much less achieve.

So it might be tempting to believe that being one of the world’s best triathletes would require sacrifices that keep you from giving your all to other pursuits, like raising a family or pursuing a career.

Not so for Nicola Spirig. She can—and does—do it all.

The Swiss Olympic gold medalist, lawyer and mother of three blends power and humility as the star of an inspirational new mini-biopic from running shoe and apparel brand On. The 3-minute spot chronicles both her lifelong drive to push her own limits and the joys she finds outside of competition.

“Sport is my passion. Family is my love,” she says in the ad. “It’s a huge privilege to combine both.”

While the excitement of the triathlon and her successes set the tone for the work, the ad from veteran creative director Andy Fackrell finds a more personal and accessible approach than many athletic spots that rely on quicks edits to convey intensity. For example, the spot wonderfully takes breaks from her race regimen to interview people in her native St. Moritz, who marvel at her equally as a world-class athlete and mother, calling her “Superfrau.”

“I’ve been lucky to work with some of the biggest names for Nike and Adidas, but this was the first time working with an athlete who is also a mother of three, and one that’s been competing at this level for 20 years,” Fackrell says. “The reason she’s so good is more than simply talent. Being a mother has made her even more determined and focused. She may well be the greatest endurance athlete in the world. And on top of this, she’s also a lawyer. Therefore, I can safely say: a superfrau, Nicola Spirig most definitely is.”

What’s notable is that the brand itself puts a strong focus on supporting female athletes during pregnancy and motherhood.

“Family is our No. 1 mantra, and we encourage all our sponsored athletes–male and female–to pursue their dreams, both as a parent and as a sporting career professional,” says Olivier Bernhard, co-founder of the Swiss sportswear company. “We want our athletes to perform at their optimum level and uninhibited, knowing they have the full support of their sponsor throughout their professional career and even into retirement.”

The brand’s point of view is unique considering that, according to an ESPN survey of professional athletes who are also mothers, 41% said that their income decreased after returning to sports.

“I believe you should be able to enjoy motherhood and enjoy continued career success, whether it’s in professional sports or in any occupation,” says the 37-year-old Spirig. “I am truly grateful that such a progressive and forward-thinking company has given me the freedom and encouragement to pursue the joint family and competitive sporting life I choose without any restrictions whatsoever.”


Client: On AG
Head of Sports Marketing: Feliciano Robayna
Sports Marketing Activation: Sarah MacNeil
Creative: Andy Fackrell, Sydney
Director: Sam Coleman, Giant Films, Cape Town
Exec Producer: Anna Telford, Butterfly Films, Cape Town
Line Producer: David Horler, Cape Town
Line Producer: Catherine De la Harpe, Cape Town
DOP: Devin Toselli, Cape Town
Production Design and Costume: Wendy Fredriksson, Cape Town
1st AC: Miche Britz, Cape Town
Editor: Steve Gulik, The Post Office, Auckland
Original Music: Grayson Gilmore, Wellington
Sound Design & Mix: David Liversidge, Big Tree Studios, Auckland
Colourist: David McLaren, Big Tree Studios, Auckland
Online/Flame: James Corden, Big Tree Studios, Auckland
Post Production Producer: Rachel Liversidge, Big Tree Studios, Auckland
Creative PR: Jessica Hartley, The Humblebrag, Amsterdam

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