Nomura Holdings (securities company) / My Personal Best

The story of seven people reaching higher


Communicating more deeply to stand out from the competition

Nomura Holdings is a Tokyo 2020 Gold Partner. Many of the other Gold Partners in the Securities category are creating ads centered on Olympic athletes. In order to distinguish Nomura from other brands making Olympic messages leading up to Tokyo 2020, we sought to find a novel approach that would stand out while aligning with the company’s “Proudly supporting Japan every step of the way” slogan.

Proved that winning isn’t the only thing

Sport, as life, is about more than merely winning and losing. It’s about striving for personal greatness through the pursuit of goals. We believed Nomura Holdings could distinguish themselves from other brands by using more humanity and empathy than following the trend of using famous athletes. There is widespread support of Olympic athletes in Tokyo, where preparations are underway for the 2020 Olympic Games. However, there is relatively little support for the Paralympic athletes who are unlikely to receive as much attention as they deserve. To communicate the true essence of sport with empathy, we elevated a diverse group of people, including an athlete and physically disabled individuals, all striving to set personal bests in a shared sport challenge.

An emotional story of seven people competing against their personal limits

In this project, we featured seven participants struggling to overcome personal challenges as they trained for a month to beat their own swimming records. They included a Rio Olympic bronze medalist who retired in 2016, an elementary school student frustrated by a lack of progress, a 70-year old man striving to increase his speed despite his age and people with physical disabilities eager to expand their potential. The project inspired participants and the audience to look beyond their current limitations in both sport and life. It also improved the reputation of Nomura Holdings. We created a swim meet that staggered the time based on a handicap system—the member with the slowest time started first, followed by the others in ascending order. Theoretically, the swimmer who most improved their personal best would reach the finish line first. By having all participants train for a month to accomplish a shared goal, we hoped they would build team spirit. Friends and family came to support at the final meet and witnessed five of seven participants set new personal bests. The theme of the film communicated how everyone has the ability to exceed their potential.

Nine compelling minutes of original, emotional documentary content.

The film documented the emotional highs and lows of the participants during their month of training both alone and as a team with professional coaches. Music enhanced the emotional journey of the participants, tracking from tense opening to the triumphant conclusion. The project involved intense planning, but the film was purely documentary in nature without any acting.

We received an ADFEST BRANDED CONTENT award, one of Asia's most prestigious ad awards.

The movie was covered in 58 articles and posted by over 10 SNS media outlets, gaining exposure worth about 130 million yen in advertising value and a cumulative total of 2.2 million playbacks. In Japan as well as internationally, it received numerous ad awards.


Good Design Award | Good Design Award
Spikes Asia | FILM Category | Short List