Lebo calls the Nike VaporMax ads “a massive shout out and affirmation to the local running culture… a marker of running culture moving forward to the next level.”
Having been part of the movement of runners taking back the streets almost since its inception in Joburg, this was a dream campaign for Lebo. “I doubt people will ever fully clock how important this job was to me,” he says. “The campaign came at the perfect time for me when I felt stunted, like I wasn’t really growing as a director. My self-confidence was at an all-time low and the promise of ‘the new kid on the block’ had worn off, so I was beyond excited when Gustav [Greffrath] and Ningi [Mhinga] called me up for this.”
Working with DOP Adam Bentel, stylist Jamal Nxedlana, editor William Kalmer and his talented crew, Lebo felt like he had a breakthrough. “I have been preaching this sweet spot between grit and beauty for years, but I have never got it right until this job. These pieces are as cinematic as they are raw.”
Partly he credits this with learning to trust his team more. “I wish someone had told me earlier that I don't have to have all the answers,” says Lebo. “A small reminder to myself and others out there tryna find their space and role in this world: rely on your team, like literally tether yourself to your people, and let go of the pathological need to always know. Much love to my team for knowing when I don't.”
The campaign is Arcade’s second with Futura Joburg and Nike. “The team at Futura understands Nike’s brand position so intimately that their approach has become instinctive,” says Arcade producer Will Nicholson. “They come at campaigns with conviction and work in a very open, collaborative style, inviting you to their side of the table.”
Lebogang Rasethaba grew up in South Africa, spent five years in China completing his master’s in film studies, and returned to his mother continent with a remarkable skill set and a handy fluency in Mandarin. Since then, Lebo has made his mark on the advertising world, winning a Silver Loerie, working with a spread of international brands, and featuring regularly on sites like Highsnobiety, i-D and Vice. Lebogang has also completed three feature-length documentaries, The People Vs The Rainbow Nation, Future Sound of Msanzi, and Prisoner 46764: The Untold Legacy of Andrew Mlangeni. “There is this intensely creative, unapologetically young and curious energy in South Africa that I sense and subscribe to; it’s really infectious and I point my camera in that direction.”
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