Will Market '$90 Million Man' LeBron James

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It had been a long time since Nancy Monsarrat was on an actual shoot, and she picked a doozy for her return to the game.

Nancy Monsarrat, U.S. ad director, Nike

"Yeah, it was pretty interesting to stand in a freezing cold stadium to watch a naked man run around for 8 hours," Ms. Monsarrat, Nike's U.S. advertising director, says with a laugh. "We had six or seven monitors there and we, uh, pretty much got him from every angle."

The streaker spot
The spot to which she refers, for Nike's Shox sneaker, was the first under her direction since taking the position in October and was met with critical acclaim. Viewers were taken in by the realism of what looked like an English soccer match interrupted by a streaker who storms the pitch.

In fact, the spot was a perfect testimony to Ms. Monsarrat's attention to detail. She and ad agency Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., sought help from Nike's London offices to ensure its realism.

"Even though the spot wasn't about communicating authentic football, we wanted to make sure it felt as real as possible," says Ms. Monsarrat, 46. "When we cast the players, we made sure they were in the right positions and we were getting the right footage. We weren't about to just throw a bunch of guys on the field and pretend they were playing a game."

The $90 million man
Now, Ms. Monsarrat's attention will be put to the test as she turns to marketing the image of LeBron James. The Nike $90 million man, who will help design the Nike shoe that will launch his eagerly awaited NBA career, was the No. 1 pick in the NBA's recent draft and is heir apparent to the Michael Jordan marketing machine.

Ms. Monsarrat has been at Nike for 14 years. A 1978 graduate of the University of Portland, she worked in Seattle as vice president of Elgin Syferd Advertising, Cole & Weber Advertising, and KING-AM.

She moved south to Oregon and Nike headquarters to work as a senior director for the sneaker and apparel giant, before taking over as Nike's Asia Pacific advertising director in 1999, working out of Nike's Beaverton, Ore., headquarters, but focusing her efforts abroad.

"Nancy brings a wealth of experience, talent and passion into her new role as [U.S.] advertising director," says her boss, Joaques Hildalgo, vice president of U.S. brand management.

The elusive consumer
Ms. Monsarrat says her challenge now is to balance the biggest market in the world. "I still want to be able to talk to that elusive consumer."

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