Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What I didn't like about Nike's "Together" commercial


Nike's "Together" received great hype last week when it debuted before the Cleveland Cavaliers season tipped off.  The video captivated the attention of  of the internet for a few hours while the world (and especially Ohio) waited to see Lebron James back in a Cavaliers uniform.

Interestingly, Nike makes the city Lebron is returning home to, Cleveland, the real star of their ad.  They combine powerful imagery of Clevelanders joining the Cavaliers in a pregame huddle with emphatic words from Lebron who declares "the whole city of Cleveland, that's what it's all about."

I would have loved the strategy behind that if only the story was being told in a vacuum.  However, there is some context that seems to have been left out.  It wasn't that long ago that Lebron was trying to win a third NBA Championship for another city.  A city that he left Cleveland to go to in a very public and embarrassing way.  Fast forward to this commercial with Lebron imploring his teammates to do it for "Cleveland" and it would seem that Nike missed and opportunity to fill its audience in on the last chapter.     

That commercial would echo sentiments of the letter that Lebron James penned in the offseason when he announced his return to the Cavaliers.  The star would be the reasons why he's found himself back home today; a significantly more humble piece centered on family, community and the growth of a man.  There would be contrition and forgiveness on both sides. 

In my opinion, Nike needed to bridge this gap in the story.  Without such context, "Together" comes across as King James' loyal subjects worshiping their hero despite the fact he hasn't always reciprocated this same loyalty.    

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic and any other interesting marketing-related musings.

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