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Posts Tagged ‘LeBron James’

Friday Odds and Ends

-Fresh off of his highly-viewed/widely-discussed appearance on Between Two Ferns, President Obama has now found a new, somewhat notable ally in his pitch for the Affordable Care Act: LeBron James (above). link

-Y&R Midwest won Agency of the Year honors at the 2014 Chicago American Advertising Awards. link

-Five days after Sbarro’s filed for bankruptcy, Quizno’s is following suit. End of an era for the former mallrat in all of us, we suppose. link

-Minneapolis-based Omnicom agency Martin Williams and hometown brew brand, Finnegans, will be rolling through town in what they dub the world’s first “reverse food truck” this weekend. link

-NYC-based digital agency Ready Set Rocket, which works with fashion/retail, CPG and media/entertainment clients ranging from Ann Taylor and Diesel to Fast Company and Live Nation, has welcomed a handful of new staffers. The new hires include
Sal Basile, senior content strategist; Amanda Roach, email marketing manager; Ben Luckadoo, digital strategist; Jana Hoffman, copywriter; Matt Mewtown, developer and Michael Craig, engagement manager.

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Goodby Silverstein & Partners Ring in Holiday Season with ‘Jingle Hoops’ for NBA

Last year, Goodby Silverstein & Partners celebrated the holidays with their “BIG: Color” spot for the NBA, which they sometimes refer to as “Carol of the Balls” (sounds a bit gross to me.) Following on the success of that spot, the agency has put together another NBA Christmas carol for hoops fans, this time taking on the ubiquitous Christmas song known variously as “Jingle Bells” and “One-Horse Open Sleigh.”

The spot, “Jingle Hoops,” (the folks over at Goodby are undoubtedly referring to it as “Jingle Balls”) features five of today’s biggest NBA stars – Derrick RoseKevin DurantStephen CurryJames HardenSteve Nash and LeBron James – wearing Special Edition Christmas Day Uniforms and shooting hoops rigged with jingle bells, to a certain famous Christmas tune. Since the song normally ends with a shout of “Hey,” they had LeBron finish things out with an enthusiastic dunk. It’s a simple idea, well executed (personally I think they did a better job than with “Carol of the Bells” last year), that I imagine most NBA fans can appreciate.

Personally, I think it’s a bit early for Christmas/holiday stuff (Can we please wait until Thanksgiving?), but that’s a losing argument since the entire world has decided that November 1st (and sometimes earlier) is the proper time to start the winter holiday onslaught. Given that, the song choice is kind of appropriate, since “One-Horse Open Sleigh” was originally composed for Thanksgiving.

The Special Edition Christmas Day Uniforms are part of the Adidas Winter Court collection and will be worn by NBA players exclusively during Christmas Day games. Interested parties can purchase the uniforms online at the NBA store. Credits after the jump. Read more

LeBron Kicks Back with Family, Friends for Samsung Galaxy

We are now in the season of LeBron James commercials. He’s like Victor Cruz, only taller, better, richer, and not a Time Warner Cable lackey. If you happened to watch the opening night of the NBA season, you saw three different LeBron endorsements, including a new two-minute Samsung spot (:60 version with just the family after the jump) that gives viewers a glimpse into the family life of the best basketball player in the world.

If you care about such things, you may remember last year’s Samsung/LBJ launch, which also premiered on opening night as the Miami Heat were getting their first set of rings. That 2012 spot was more about LeBron and his friends ruling Miami in barber shops and ice cream trucks. This year’s version is all about LeBron and his family: his sons hanging out in the pool or on a driveway basketball court as his wife films from a Samsung Galaxy. ”The Next Big Thing is Here” flashes on the screen as LeBron’s son celebrates after swishing a jump shot. We get it, but it’s still fairly interesting to let two little boys take some of the spotlight away from the real star.

The spot is an easy watch, a relaxing tone that rubs off on the viewer. Life is good for LeBron, and even though I typically prefer product-focused ads to lifestyle ads, when the spokesman is one of the most famous people on the planet, customers may take notice. Smiles all around and credits after the jump.

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Plenty of Screaming Ensues in New LeBron-Focused Sprite Spot

Translation, which was recently tapped by Coca-Cola to handle marketing for Sprite, has a new spot for the green-bottled lemon-lime soft drink.

Although Sprite has changed agencies and approaches several times in recent years, this ad hits on well-trodden ground for the brand: LeBron James, basketball, and mentioning the word “thirst.” This time around there’s a lot of screaming, though. We open with LeBron James superhumanly blocking a dunk attempt and screaming in celebration. Then we see a marching band drummer “marching to his own beat,” a dude posting a video of some biking tricks, a guy with a lion tattoo, and a woman getting a truly bizarre haircut. All of them scream. Somewhere a silently screaming mime gets thrown in. “If you’re gonna put in the work to show the world who you are, you’re going to get thirsty. Then: drink a Sprite.” proclaims the voiceover, before adding in the tagline “For The Thirsty.” Reasonable enough logic here: lots of screaming will make you thirsty.

Here’s the thing though: soft drinks are actually terrible at quenching thirst. Why would you make that a selling point for your brand? Isn’t that playing to your weakness? Yes, it is a beverage, but it’s a sugary one made to be enjoyed for its taste, not to quench thirst. I get that they’ve gone with athlete endorsements aplenty to sell their product, and I get that this strategy harkens way back to their “Obey Your Thirst” days. But who is really reaching for a Sprite after a workout? Especially with the vast array of flavored bottled water drinks now available. Is marketing towards a function your product doesn’t actually serve really going to help sell your brand? I’ve never understood this. Who knows though, since Sprite is constantly changing their approach, maybe this tactic will die out soon as well. Credits after the jump.

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‘NBA2K14′ Makes it ‘Reign’ in Lebron James-Starring Spot

In a follow-up to the earlier NBA 2K14 spot which heralded Lebron James‘s first game cover, Zambezi returns with the official launch ad for the game featuring who most believe is the best in b-ball today. Yours truly hasn’t been much of a gamer since Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter 2 were in existence, but hell, we’re down to revisit the days when we were on fire in NBA Jam. Along with the spot, Zambezi curated an interview with the one and only Michael Jordan dubbed “Uncensored” in what perhaps the greatest basketball player ever actually goes against the grain and dubs Kobe Bryant the only one he probably couldn’t beat in the NBA today. Well, he did emulate his style to perfection after all, so maybe MJ’s on to something. Credits and the Jordan interview after the jump.

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Nike Taps LeBron, Piqué, Bradley Cooper’s Voice for ‘Just Do It’ 25th Anniversary

At this point, Nike and AOR W+K are just showing off. Their latest spot, “Possibilities,” is a fat, splashy kick-off to the 25th anniversary of its ubiquitous slogan, “Just Do It.” These type of Nike ads have always had a mythical quality, compared to other sports brands – like certain BBDO Foot Locker commercials – that are solid and funny. Nike is serious. W+K Portland is serious. Nike, Inc. is set to earn $25 billion in revenue this year, meaning we must be serious, too, when it comes to our purchases.

Being serious does not preclude Nike from a certain playfulness if you look hard enough. For “Possibilities,” the lightness comes from some Bradley Cooper voiceover that makes the viewer want to just do it, even though said viewer knows he/she can’t do it as well as professional athletes. That’s where stars like footballer Gerard Piqué and basketballer LeBron James come in, cameos that are almost taking the money out of your wallet before you know it.

For LeBron, the unofficial king of the summer, Nike has been creatively pumping out his spots for a few years now. This one may be a joint venture, but he subtly dominates the end with some clever winking done in the form of a fake dunk content. LeBron has never entered the NBA dunk contest. Maybe this is a hint for 2014? Or maybe it’s just smart marketing? Plenty of possibilities to choose from.

Credits after the jump.

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ESPN Reminds Viewers that Things ‘Happened’ in ESPYs Promos

The ESPYS are supposed to throw a nudge and a wink in the direction of typical award shows that take themselves too seriously. Athletes get all dolled up in dresses and suits, the host runs through some comedic skits, and the sporting world congratulates itself on the red carpet, all of which has appeal to the average viewer, because the sports world is usually unglamorous for the other 364 days of the year.

For the 2013 ESPYS, ESPN seems to have taken that care-free attitude to a whole new level, a level that borders on creative laziness. Amazing athletes and sporting events “happened.” For example, Robert Griffin III tells us that Gabby Douglas “happened,” and Lebron James “happened, with authority.” ESPN worked with creative agency 77 Ventures to produce a dozen or so spots in advance of the July 17 show that covers just about every positive sports story from the previous year. They all happened. Which makes you want to hit your head and let out a rhetorical, “duh?” ESPN wasted the chance to use its biggest stars like RGIII, Derek Jeter, Danica Patrick, and Ray Lewis to sell great games and plays. We know they happened. These inspiring sports stories can pretty much sell themselves, but this “Happened” campaign pushes the limit of less is more. For once, less is less. Less happened.

You can watch three more promos after the jump.

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Delayed Response Brings LeBron McDonald’s Spot Back into Focus

Considering game 7 is tonight, let’s just call this timely. This McDonald’s commercial from Arnold featuring Stephen A. Smith and LeBron James (sort of) isn’t exactly new, but it’s taken on some belated relevance following the headbandless fourth quarter performance from King James in last night’s NBA Finals Game 6. Once you get over the fact that Stephen A. is in a commercial, and the fact that the typical ESPN #embracedebate could be replaced in this case with #embracerecedinghairlines, you’ll see that the “greatest of all time” discussion usually reserved for LeBron vs. Michael Jordan discussions has been morphed, with good spirits, into a battle between chicken nuggets and hamburgers.

In a second local spot, Stephen A. apparently used the hashtag #headbandontootight in relation to LeBron’s fondness for fatty fried chicken and accidentally struck viral marketing gold for Arnold Worldwide. Nevermind that LeBron probably hasn’t had a chicken nugget in 8 years – when the timing is right, the timing is right.

Credits after the jump.

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King James Kicks Off Video Game Reign with ‘NBA 2K14′

LeBron James may have a South Beach mansion full of trophies, but until yesterday, he had yet to accomplish one basketball-related goal: gracing the cover of a video game. NBA 2K14 won’t hit stores until the fall, but last night, viewers of the NBA Finals on ABC got to watch the introductory ad – created by Zambezi – where James announces his plan to join past coverboys like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. For 2K Sports, having the best basketball player in the world endorsing your basketball product is not too shabby, either.

Lost in all of this is the noble presence of Steve Kerr, once the foil to MJ in the NBA, and now, the foil to Marv Albert in NBA broadcasting. Kerr plays the role of “2K Investigator” in the commercial’s somewhat-lame hook. But when a six-foot white guy who couldn’t dunk gets into a basketball video game commercial, everyone wins.

Credits after the jump.

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72andSunny Creative Heads to EVB

More dispatches from the ether as we wind down our quick trip to Austin. After spending just 10 months in L.A. at 72andSunny, where he served as ACD/copywriter on efforts for Samsung including last year’s LeBron James-heads-to-get-his-ring spot and the “Unicorn Apocalypse” saga, Patrick Maravilla has headed up north to join up with San Francisco-based Evolution Bureau as creative director. Regarding the new hire, EVB ECD Steve Babcock, who himself has recently joined the shop from CP+B, says, “Patrick is one of those naturally talented guys. From stand-up comedy to screenplays to solving brands’ complex marketing problems, his skill set across all mediums, combined with his big heart and personality, make us extremely fortunate to have him.”

Maravilla is no stranger to to CP+B either as he spent four years at the agency serving as an ACD, working with clients including Coke Zero and Burger King. During his career, the self-proclaimed “stand-up comedy instructor” has held a similar position at AKQA SF, where he helped lead creative on Xbox and “Your Interview with the President” YouTube effort.

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