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Published on .

"We wanted the commercials to be Nike-like without offending the traditions of Japanese baseball," explains copywriter Jamie Barrett about Wieden & Kennedy's new live-action/Japanimation campaign for the Japanese market. Now, that's a tall order, for, unlike here in the homeland of Abner Doubleday, Japanese baseball still has some honorable traditions.

A three-spot series features the risky-wristed Ken Griffey along with Japanese players Takahiro Ikeyama and Makato "Mac" Suzuki as live-action superheroes in a largely monotone Japanese comic book environment, as they play in a fantasy baseball league that pits them, as part of the Super Nike team, against the Blackhearts. After the Nike team falls way behind in the first two spots, as opposing pitches turn to whirling buzzsaw blades on the way to the plate, they just do it in the third, titled "Victory," thanks to a home run that shatters a top-floor window in a nearby highrise; the spot ends with the herioc Nike trio smiling triumphantly in the dugout.

Other agency credits to producer Ben Grylewicz and creative direc- tor John Jay. Gordon Clark of Colossal Pictures directed; digital effects by Bill Weber of Western Images, both San Francisco. Sound design by Machine Head, Venice, Calif.

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