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(Aug. 23, 2001) AMSTERDAM -- Nike Europe has pared down its advertising to a minimum in a new international campaign, based on the U.S. effort "Freestyle," via Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam.

The TV and cinema ads eschew camera tricks or special effects, using merely a motionless camera and a simple black stage upon which well-known athletes perform. Each athlete attempts to outdo the last.

The "hypnotic rhythm" of the soundtrack was created using traditional musical instruments in a score composed by Steve Brown and Afrika Bambaataa, and later mixed with the sound recorded by the athletes -- such as the bounce of the ball or the squeak of shoes.

The effort was devised by the W&K creative team in Amsterdam, along with Jimmy Smith, a copywriter from W&K's Portland, Oregon office.

The two ads center on soccer and basketball. "Freestyle Basketball" is based on an existing U.S. ad, written by Mr. Smith, from which a new cut was made for the international run.

"[We took] the essence of hip-hop and sports and put it on film," Mr. Smith said. "Hip-hop is the driving force behind 90% of all youth culture around the world."

The campaign kicks off Aug. 23 across 25 countries. The budget is not disclosed. -- Suzanne Bidlake

Copyright August 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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