Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nike invigorates the LeBron image

Nike sells athletic gear. Nike hires professional athletes to say nice things about their gear. Nike likes to feed off the "cool" factor of professional athletes.

Having said all that, sometimes Nike is also in the business of putting a coat of paint on that fixer upper, some fresh grass seed, and a new welcome mat out front.

This is the case with Lebron James, who suffered a huge hit in the eyes of the public, and especially Clevelanders, when he abandoned ship to play in Miami.

Nike and its longtime agency Wieden & Kennedy have just released a new campaign, "Rise," that lets LeBron address "his off-season controversy head-on," as Nike said as it announced the effort.

This 90-second spot appears this week on YouTube and will appear on TNT tonite as the NBA season kicks off with a game between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.

The spot, directed by Stacy Wall, gives LeBron a chance to lash back at one of his biggest critics, Charles Barkley.What the Stacy Wall-directed spot really does is let LeBron get a few jabs in at Charles Barkley, who during the off-season turned out to be one of LeBron's more vocal critics.

Nike does tend to hit home runs, but on the heels of the Tiger Woods "talking to pop" fiasco, only time will tell on this one.

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