Children and teenagers from all walks of life, from all around the world, their eyes bright and aspirations grand. "I can do that," they whisper as the drums march aggressively on. But it takes training. To what end? To be the best, of course — like no one ever was. Can he be defeated? I gotta catch 'em all. Etc. etc.
"We're all united in friendly competition" is a popular trope in Nike and Adidas ads, as parallels are drawn between athletes of all levels. But this isn't sports in the traditional sense. This is Pokémon, and Nintendo is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a surprisingly classy 60-second spot early in the Super Bowl (which is estimated to have cost them upwards of $10 million). Sports and Pokémon have been intertwined unofficially for years, from Ronda Rousey to up-and-coming tennis pros, but this commercial makes a pretty strong case for defining sportslike competition more broadly.
While Super Bowl 50 is still almost two weeks away, the commercial is available now to watch.
(Ash vs. Team Rocket for Super Bowl 51 Halftime Show. Let's make it happen.)