Love him or hate him, a huge free agent has just been signed by Samsung: Miami Heat forward Lebron James.It turns out Mr. James is an enthusiastic user of Samsung's Galaxy Note II (and its stylus), and a YouTube spot that closely imitated the basketball star's life has racked up more than 1.3 million views since it was posted earlier this week, according to Visible Measures.
Samsung launched the ad campaign during the NBA season opener between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics Tuesday night. At a minute and a half long, the advertisement is a dramatization of the current NBA MVP preparing for the first game of the 2012-2013 season and the long-awaited ring ceremony commemorating his team's championship run this past June.
Although filmed a week before Tuesday's game, the advertisement tried to accurately predict how that day would go in real life for Mr. James.
Teri Daley, Samsung's vice president of public relations, would not disclose the size of the endorsement deal, but she did say it included Mr. James receiving an advance version of the device and custom-made case featuring his personal "LJ" logo.
"We worked with [Mr. James] to determine 'What is he going to do on the day of the ring ceremony?' and we just kind of lived that in advance," Ms. Daley said.
Approximately two hours prior to the 7 p.m. Eastern game, Mr. James tweeted out a photo of the outfit he was planning to wear to the stadium, a khaki-colored suit and red tie ensemble that perfectly resembles what he's seen wearing while walking to the locker room a minute and seven seconds into the commercial.
In the photo Mr. James tweeted, the suit was worn by a crudely drawn yellow body, presumably done so with the Note II's S Pen, a stylus for handwriting and doodling. At the beginning of the commercial, Mr. James's son is shown drawing with the S Pen.
Early in the advertisement -- 14 seconds in -- Mr. James receives a congratulatory message from NBA legend Magic Johnson. At 2 a.m. Wednesday, Mr. James (@KingJames) thanked Magic (@MagicJohnson) via Twitter for praising his work in The Lebron James Family Foundation. The foundation gave red and black "I PROMISE" wristbands to 342 Akron Public Schools third-graders last year in order to inspire them to be good students and citizens. Mr. James can be seen wearing one of the black wristbands one minute and 18 seconds into the video.
Seconds before the shot of his foundation's wristband, Mr. James is shown taking out and tweeting a photo of a pair of gold LEBRON Xs, his latest shoe. Yesterday, Mr. James tweeted out a photo of the same pair of kicks -- whose gold color is a nod to the USA Olympic team's gold-medal victory this past summer, Nike says -- and later wore them in the Heat's season opener.
Just hours after the Heat defeated the Celtics 120-117, Mr. James tweeted out a series of Instagram photos of his new championship ring just as Samsung's spot suggested he likely would.
One detail that wasn't included in the video? At the 1:08 mark, Mr. James can be seen wearing a pair of white Beats Wireless headphones with the trademark red "B" whited out. Beats by Dre was seemingly shut out of this multi-branded life-imitating-advertisement publicity stunt.
A spokesman close to Mr. James said that the Galaxy Note II is the only phone the NBA star has been using since he received it.
"He came to us," Ms. Daley said. "He's had a relationship with our CMO [Todd Pendleton] for several years. ... We work with the individuals who are the next big thing in their own field and are organically interested in our products."
The creative team behind the campaign is Los Angeles-based advertising firm 72andSunny.