The King is back. LeBron James plays his first home game tonight for the Cleveland Cavaliers after 4 years (and two Championship Rings) with the Miami Heat. It’s been the biggest topic in basketball media for the past 3 months.
Of course, brands are leveraging the biggest story in basketball and the big boys have all thrown their hat in the ring, creating epic emotive spots showcasing his return. It is amazing to see the power one athlete can have over the people of a city. Here’s a look at my three favourite LeBron spots:
Really love this spot. Feels like the Nike I grew up with talking to me & the inspiraitonal Jordan ads of old. It’s about unity, it’s about belief. For the fans of the game, makes you feel connected to both LeBron and the people of the great city of Cleveland. I love the line ‘we owe them’. Nike plays where they belong, in the stadium. Big. Bold and a little cult-ish, which is what I like about it as Nike’s basketball ads of late have been about individuality and extroversion. A great ‘Just Do It’ ad that taps into the brands roots really well. Score: 8.5/10
This spot has grown on me. Positioning the brand for emerging athletes, centred on the gym & streets it talks to performance whilst also going hard on integrating the new Wireless headphones into this narrative (good on them). It balances this with a softer ‘people’s narrative. Music is killer and you feel the storyline. Score: 7.5/10
Sprite ‘First Home Game’
The low budget one, but probably has the most original idea. This one’s for the teens out there and cleverly uses kids in the narrative to showcase the fans love of LeBron and his importance to the city. I like the fact that’s it’s about going back to the real roots, street basketball which is very much Sprite territory. Feels gritty and positions him as a man of the people. Sprite plays a strong role as his ‘thirst comes from the people’. A little cliche at times in terms of the storytelling but the idea of ‘my first home game’ being on the streets with the kids is strong. Score: 7/10