Brand film ceated with Blacklist NY for Nike's latest Mercurial Vapor IX cleat.


Not long after we completed a video for Nike's CTR360 boot, we were invited by Blacklist in NY to pitch on a print and video project for the debut of Nike's Mercurial Vapor IX. The brief called for us to draw parallels between the boot (a beautiful design object built for speed) and the thoroughbred sleekness of an Italian supercar. The idea was to use the form, lines, and materials of the car engine parts as subtle winks at the design of the Mercurial IX cleat itself.

The most exciting part of the project was definitely the brief itself... "Can you guys take this awesome shoe and make it look like an integral part of a supercar engine, and then turn the whole thing into a wicked video with your own custom electronic track, and we'll pay you?" Brief, we accept you! Bringing to life a fantasy supercar engine was hella-fun. Italian cars are consummate aesthetic objects and their engines are often as sexy as their exteriors. Plus, it also meant that the soundtrack created by longtime pal John Black of CypherAudio would be similarly inspired.   

In terms of the challenges, the engine's design and modeling were a complex undertaking. It had to be believable, and more importantly look really cool. We love cars (please refer to our Pinterest page:, but we aren't engineers. Figuring out what engine parts to feature and finding the balance of cool versus realistic required a lot of research and design iterations. On top of that, most cars of this type completely conceal the moving parts of the engine beneath a plastic or carbon fiber casing. In this case though, we wanted to expose all the cool looking bits and pieces. 

On a tech level (for those curious) 3D work was executed in 3DSMax with Vray for lighting and render, compositing in Nuke, and FX and title animation in After Effects. The colour seperation effect you see throughout was inspired by the double exposure work of photographer Yulia Gorbachenko. Both music and colour are meant to have a slight retro-synth flavour that compliments the palette of the boot as well as the Italo-supercar metaphor that is pervasive throughout the film. Enjoy!

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