PICKS OF THE WEEK: Nike "LeBrons" and adidas "Be the Ball"

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Spot of the Week

Nike The LeBrons "New Shoes," "Glory Days," "Answering Machine," "Celebration "

Nike 'New Shoes'
Nike 'New Shoes'
It was hard to choose one because they're all so darned lovable.

Wieden + Kennedy must be (and has been) saluted for continuing to address sport in consistently fresh and relevant ways. Whether the ads speak of the man on the street or the ridiculously well compensated athlete, the awesome feat or the small victory, the personal or the cultural, good Nike work stays true to its cause while always exploring some new ground.

Nike 'Glory Days'
Nike 'Glory Days'
In this campaign, we see the many sides of LeBron James, the Cavaliers guard who famously leapt into the NBA as a teenager straight from high school and is thus seen as the poster child of the Young Athlete Keeping It Real In The Soul-Challenging World of Pro Ball (as if those few years of being obscenely indulged in every possible way while "studying" at college really make the man). The spots takes aim at the easily lampooned world of pro basketball, portraying the star literally as four members of a family—Wise, the Kid, All Business, and Athlete—each meant to represent one facet of the man-child millionaire athlete and the multiple realities of life in his rarified world. Surely many of those facets are much darker in the actual life of a superstar like this, but the campaign gets the point across with a more light hearted jab at the bizarro world of elite pro sports, the calm center of which is the gifted, grounded athlete, and, of course, the shoe. Director Stacy Wall does a great job with all the LeBrons and there are real moments to be savored in the campaign (like the one which has smooth, self absorbed All Business looking lovingly into a mirror and purring "I surprise myself everyday I wake up." ) While the character of Athlete LeBron mostly hangs in the background, observing his family's antics with some mixture of bemusement and wariness, James' engaging portrayal of each of the characters puts his charm in the spotlight. The end result is that James himself comes off as a real star for the pop culture universe, while remaining a supremely well adjusted athlete. And for a sporting goods company spending millions on endorsing a very rich kid who has had the whole wide world at his disposal since the age of 16, well adjusted is where you want to be.

"Innovative Media" Pick of the Week

Adidas 'Be the Ball'
Adidas 'Be the Ball'
With this outdoor/interactive/stunt/old media effort, Whybin/TBWA (180/TBWA) New Zealand invites consumer to actually enter, or be the product, in this case the 2006 adidas World Cup match ball. The agency recreated the ball as a 2.5 meter-high projectile, attached it to a giant rubber band and invited those who purchased the real thing to go for a ride in the big ball at 100 miles an hour.

Like the award winning Vertical Football From TBWA Japan, this effort creates a can't miss PR-worthy spectacle, but here, invites the man on the street to play along.
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