“It’s not uncommon to be walking down the street and pass a juggler.”

Director Brian Johnson explains how promoting this month's Portland World Indoor Championships was a simple matter of keeping it weird.

Everyone loves an emotional montage. Everyone except Brian Johnson, at least. The American director was tasked with creating the promotional videos for the Portland world indoors, which take place 17-20 March.

The easy option would have been to chop together a load of old footage, whack on a power ballad soundtrack and let the YouTube likes role in. But Johnson chose to eschew the mundane and tap into Portland’s psyche.

“It’s a little quirky and a little odd,” he tells BBC Sportshour's Ed Harry. “So that’s what we really wanted to do with this campaign: drop these athletes, who come from all corners of the country, into this world of Portland.”

The idea was to have the pro athletes “collide” with “the quirky citizens” that call Bridgetown home. The result a trio of videos starring American steeplechase record holder Evan Jager, 2011 110m hurdles world champion and four-time Olympic champ Allyson Felix.

It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but – somehow – the videos work. The key, Johnson says, was not to force the issue, to give the athletes the space “to be in the moment and react”.

“We didn’t want them to be anything other than who they are in real life,” he adds. “I felt like if they embraced it – and all of them did, especially Allyson and Jason who were actually playing off actors, other characters – I knew that there were going to be great results.”

Watch the great results below.

Evan Jager

Evan Jager

Evan Jager is loving #Portland so far.Single session tickets go on sale this Friday.http://ev12.evenue.net/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/SEGetEventInfo?ticketCode=GS%3aTWS%3aPTTF16:PTTFCOMBO%3a&linkID=twspok&_ga=1.54217128.1085855250.1403887144

Posted by IAAF World Indoor Championships - Portland 2016 on Wednesday, 13 January 2016


Allyson Felix


Are you sure you're ready for #Portland2016, Allyson Felix?http://portland2016.com/tickets/

Posted by IAAF World Indoor Championships - Portland 2016 on Monday, 1 February 2016


Jason Richardson

Portland 2016 Promo - Jason Richardson (whisper long)

#Portland takes their #art very seriously, Jason Richardson

Posted by IAAF World Indoor Championships - Portland 2016 on Monday, 11 January 2016


Big thanks to Ed Harry and BBC Sportshour.