McDonald's LeBron Spot Over Three Years in the Making

Marketer Earlier Tried for a James/Wade Effort

By Published on .

Much has been made of McDonald's decision to feature LeBron James in a remake of the marketer's legendary Michael Jordan/Larry Bird ad "The Showdown" that's slated to run during the Super Bowl's pregame show. Here's the teaser:

It's worth noting it's a decision that has apparently been in the works for, well, awhile.

Consider that an April 2007 Ad Age story heralded that the fast feeder was in talks with Mr. James and fellow NBA star Dwyane Wade to participate in a remake of the spot.

In that story, then-McDonald's USA CMO Bill Lamar noted that the roots of the idea dated six months before that. He said McDonald's kicked the idea to Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day to "get a chance to see Lee Clow's ideas engaged" on brand efforts, Mr. Lamar said at the time.

So much for fast food. It took more than three years, but the spot has finally arrived, sans Mr. Wade, Mr. Lamar and TBWA. This spot, which does feature Mr. James, co-stars Orlando Magic Center Dwight Howard, was produced by Translation, and was overseen by a new McDonald's USA CMO, Neil Golden.

McDonald's has released a quick teaser for the new ad, dubbed "Check This." Like the original, the remake begins with the two players arranging a shootout with the winner getting to eat Mr. James' Big Mac.

In the original, the competition evolved into the Bird and Jordan hitting progressively more impossible trick shots, including a finale that originated atop the Sears Tower. The spot riffed off Bird and Jordan's reputations as two of the sharpest shooters in the game.

It's not clear from the preview how the directors will account for Howard's comparatively dreadful shooting touch: Best known for his strength and agility, Howard makes only 60% of his uncontested free throws.

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