What if a particular type of excellence could be captured and preserved for generations to come? THIS is where the best are remembered. In the prime of their lives. At the height of their powers, shoulder to shoulder with those who define an era.
The triumphant and condensed return of the 2012 NBA season brought with it not just great back-to-back games almost every night of the week, it also gave us some of the best basketball commercials/intros that I can remember watching.
One of the most memorable, was an Idris Elba narrated special which took me forever to find (seriously, who is Idris Elba—besides an incredible voice for narrating with an ridiculously difficult name to remember?).
Juxtaposing great narrative about the fountain of youth alongside highlights of the NBA and many of its historical figures during regular season play, as well as during past all-star games, this commercial creates an inspiring fusion of story and visual imagery which is accentuated by the apropos voice of Idris Elba.
And it’s not just the players or the plays which makes this a great promo. The fact that the creators opted to include the sounds of the fans and great commentators calling the plays in real-time, such as the great Ralph Lawler, only adds to the reasons why I wanted to make sure I bookmarked this video in my humble blog.
Heck, even the music was perfectly selected to augment the crescendo of incredible plays in a way that sends tingling down our spines.
As the 2012-13 NBA season approaches, I hope to be able to keep better track of inspiring and successful ads. Luckily the NBA and the brands surrounding it have always delivered on that front.
The Jordan brand has historically carried the weight of Michael Jordan’s legacy on its shoulders. If we were to look at the various commercials Michael Jordan has been a part of, it would be easy to see that they carry an inherent message of transcendance.
Building on that legacy, the Jordan brand has recently put out the #riseabove campaign, where real-life stories are tied into a message of overcoming different obstacles, whether they be physical, geographical, economical or societal.
The message, when viewing these mini-documentaries, is as easy to grasp as the hash-tag that accompanies them: rise above.
Depending on who you are, your upbringing, and your physical location, one ore more of these mini-docs will touch the depths of your basketball heart, and hopefully will also inspire you to continue and break on through whatever challenges you may be facing in life.
The Olympic games are now in full swing, but if you’re like many young professionals, time is limited and you may not always get around to catching all the great promotional spots that surround this great sporting event.
The power and ubiquity of social media has changed the advertising game. Successful campaigns have to appeal emotionally to a widespread audience, at least enough to organically incite a viewer to want to share content with their network of friends and acquaintances. Thus, the social virality of any message is largely tied to the genuine ability of an ad to trigger the emotional connections that we share as human beings.
Sports have always existed as that kind of medium, and sporting brands like Nike and Adidas have often risen to the challenge of creating memorable videos that aren’t easily forgotten.
During the 2012 Olympic games, one traditional brand and two unlikely promoters rose to the occasion to capture my votes for best-of this summer.
1. Nike: Find Your Greatness
Known for its numerous campaigns that often weave the backbone of sports into a compelling story of humanity, Nike once again appealed to the inner athlete in all of us.
Not only is the message the type of inspiration that is easily consumed, it was also a brilliant display of what the IOC refers to as “ambush marketing.” Nike strategically built a campaign around London the name, and not London, England. By taking the focus away from the seemingly superhuman athletes that are celebrated in the spotlight of London, and instead appealing to the greatness inside all of us not present at the Olympics, Nike avoided having to fork over hefty amounts of money to the official London “greats” while building a solid connection to the millions who strive for greatness every day.
2. P&G: Best Job
Everyone knows the responsibility which comes with raising another human being is an incredibly hard task worthy of a gold medal. But if you were to ask all the moms in the world who have done it, they would probably all tell you it’s one of the most incredible and rewarding experiences of their life. At least that’s the message we take away from the Proctor & Gamble official Olympic Games film.
By projecting success as a function of support from the one person who will usually love you more than any other human being on the planet, P&G captured the emotional connection we all share with our mamas. Not only do we, as children, easily connect, this short film also does a good job of celebrating the joy and pride mothers feel when seeing their kids succeed.
The golden validation that athletes strive for—that hard currency which proves you’re better than the rest—has always present in your mother’s eye. After you watch this, make sure you hug or call your mom.
3. Channel 4 Paralympics
For this last one, although the video will speak for itself, you can refer to this excerpt from Fast Co. for some background:
A striking 90-second TV ad is the current highlight of Channel 4’s multi-million pound “Meet the Superhumans” strategy–the broadcaster’s biggest single marketing push in its 30 year history. The spot, underlining the channel’s role as official broadcaster of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, was created by the channel’s in-house agency 4Creative and directed by Tom Tagholm. Launched simultaneously across 78 channels at 9pm GMT on July 17, its pounding soundtrack is Public Enemy track “Harder Than You Think.”
If you’d like to check out additional Olympics ads, make sure to check out Fast Co.’s Top 12 ads article and pay attention to who they ranked as their number 1 ad (it’s none of the ones mentioned in this post). Let me know if you think it deserved the number one spot, or if you connected to any of the ads above in a more meaningful way.
His Airness, Michael Jordan, made an appearance during this year’s All-Star break in the form of a new Gatorade commercial.
Phil Jackson narrates and makes an appearance, while video of the 1997 NBA finals plays on-screen. Michael Jordan iconically sitting on the bench, towel draped over his head as he willed himself to lead the Bulls to victory versus the Jazz.
He made me a believer. Not in luck. Or in fate. But in the will to win.
You win, from within. – Phil Jackson
With almost nothing but heart and determination, Jordan added to his lore with an incredible performance on the biggest stage of all.
Classic performance by Michael Jordan. – Marv Albert