A Stirring University of Phoenix Spot Pays Tribute to Olympic Basketball Star Gail Marquis

Maya Angelou's 'Still I Rise' Provides the Backdrop

By Alexandra Jardine. Published on Aug 09, 2016

Editor's Pick

The University of Phoenix has launched a stirring spot celebrating alumna Gail Marquis, an Olympic basketball champion who went on to become a Wall Street executive, to run during the Olympics.

Created by 180 L.A., the ad is set to the Maya Angelou poem "Still I Rise," read by the poet herself, and eventually ending with Marquis reading it. It charts the journey Marquis made from young girl watching the Olympics on TV, to become World Champion, to working in finance, to gaining her MBA at the University of Phoenix in 2006.

Eliot Rausch at Stink directed the spot, whose cast includes a youth center worker playing the young Marquis, chosen because she "embodies the passion and tenacity of Gail," real athletes playing basketball players and a young girl in the final scene cast because her hero is Angelou.

The University Phoenix is not the only advertiser to use Angelou as a source of inspiration during this year's Olympics: Apple used a recording of her reciting her poem "The Human Family" as the backdrop to its Olympics "Shot on iPhone" ad.

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Aug 09, 2016
180 LA
Chief Marketing Officer:
Joan Blackwood
University of Phoenix
VP of Brand Marketing:
Monica Gaston
Executive Creative Director:
Jeff Preston
Jeff Preston
Director of Social Media:
Mark Deyer
Chief Creative Officer:
William Gelner
Executive Creative Director:
Eduardo Marques
Executive Creative Director:
Rafael Rizuto
Creative Director:
Wilson Mateos
Josh Hacohen
Art Director:
Karine Grigorian
Head of Integrated Production:
Natasha Wellesley
Executive Producer:
Calleen Colburn
Group Brand Director:
Suzy Sammons
Brand Director:
Jillian Nalty
Brand Manager:
Nicole Leeds
Executive Strategy Director:
Kasi Bruno
Strategic Planner:
Tess McGourty
Director of Business Affairs:
Loretta Zolliecoffer
Business Affairs Manager:
Angel Cielo
Production Company:
Managing Director:
Jeff Baron
Eliot Rausch
Director of Photography:
Chayse Irvin
Executive Producer:
Fran McGivern
Line Producer:
Jason Manz
Beth Melsky
New York
Editorial Company:
Conor O'Neill
Executive Producer:
CL Weaver
Michael Miller
Assistant Editor:
Rex Lowry
Completion/Special Effects:
The Mill LA
Managing Director:
Rani Melendez
Executive Producer:
Leighton Greer
Alex Bader
Production Coordinator:
Sardor Kaziyev
Shoot Supervisor:
Gavin Wellsman
Shoot Supervisor:
Eric Pascarelli
Lead 2D:
John Shirley
2D Artist:
Sam Evenson
2D Artist:
Jeff Langlois
2D Artist:
Alex Candlish
Matte Painter:
Itai Muller
Greg Park
Clare Carrellas
Color Executive Producer:
Thatcher Peterson
Color Producer:
Diane Valera
Color Coordinator:
Robert Cohen
Greg Reese
Recording Studio:
Jeff Payne
Assistant Mixer:
AJ Murillo
Assistant Mixer:
Jordan Meltzer
Executive Producer:
Suzanne Hollingshead
Melissa Elston
Executive Producer:
Sara Matarazzo
Ieva Barbarian
Music Composer:
Miguel Coiz
Sound Design:
Brian Emrich

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