Nike and Wieden & Kennedy take on the American obsessions with celebrities and conspiracies in this Super Bowl XXVIII spot arguing that Michael Jordan faked his retirement from basketball.
It finds Steve Martin playing himself, on the trail of a Jordan he believes is wearing disguises to play in amateur leagues. He plays a secret recording, then promises to come back and show viewers "the Popcorn Tape, a tape someone doesn't want you to see." The ad concludes "To be continued," and indeed is wrapped up with the third quarter's "Part 2."
They kept the lid on the "Popcorn Tapes" theme, describing the creative only to the degree that the Cincinnati Post would report the day before the game that:
Nike, the athletic shoe giant, plans to launch an ad campaign with a "Who Are These Guys?" theme. The campaign will focus on legendary basketball players who are relative unknowns - "local hot shots" like Billings (Mont.) Bandits' star Leonard "Motorboat" Jones.
The 1994 ads again show how versatile Nike and Wieden & Kennedy could be, changing tone entirely from the last two years' Jordan-meets-Bugs Bunny hits ("Hare Jordan," "Aerospace Jordan"), which were a big pivot from "Heritage" in 1991... itself a departure from Nike's 1990 big-game debut "Announcers." Viewers could reliably expect something new from Nike.
Director: Joe Pytka, the constant Super Bowl presence who also directed "Announcers," "Hare Jordan" and many other spots. Production company: Pytka.
Creative directors: Jim Riswold, Susan Hoffman. Agency producer: Bill Davenport. Art director: Jelly Helm. Copywriter: Stacy Wall, whose career would include directing Super Bowl spots of his own (T-Mobile's "MyFaves" and "Icon," for example).
AGENCY: Wieden & Kennedy
QUARTER AIRED: Q2