Last week on social media and during last night's MTV VMA's broadcast, Nike's Jordan Brand and Wieden & Kennedy New York debuted this simple but powerful new Air Jordan ad starring the Oklahoma Thunder's Russell Westbrook. The ad captures Westbrook making a tremendous lay-up on an unusual court -- an airplane runway. As we hear the sounds of a jet plane in the background and see his legs mid-air against a deep blue sky, a voice-over reads, "Some run. Some make runways."
Since it debuted last week, the spot has gotten b-ball critics talking, some surmising it to be a pointed jab at Westbrook's former teammate, Kevin Durant, who announced a couple months ago that he was leaving the Thunder to join NBA Western Conference champs the Golden State Warriors. But others asked, would a Nike-owned company be critical of Durant, one of its own athletes?
Whatever the case, Mr. Westbrook has a big new job at hand, and Jordan Brand is hoping its new pair of kicks will help elevate his game.
While media has been buzzing about the ad's true meaning, agency W&K New York says it pays homage to the original 1985 spot introducing the first Air Jordans and even incorporates the same jet engine audio from that ad.
The campaign also featured a series of Snapchat videos from DJ Khaled that included the curious Jordan XXXI "hoverbox." For that, Jordan and W&K teamed with levitations specialists Crealev to create four anti-gravity boxes that levitate using magnetic technology. The boxes will also appear at Jordan Brand's Terminal 23 space in New York, as well as in flagship stores in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Toronto.
The campaign also included a tie-up with the MTV VMAs, in which viewers saw the Moonman rising to space a la "Jumpman" and leaving an XXXI "Banned" footprint on the moon.
Previously, Wieden & Kennedy, N.Y. resurrected Chiat/Day's classic "Banned" Jordan ad ahead of the XXXI release.