Posted by Ben Golliver.
With the 2011-2012 NBA season finally back on "play", Nike and Jordan Brand can put away the "Basketball Never Stops" and "Love The Game" ad campaigns and get back to selling their athletes.
Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade is one of Jordans' three signature athletes -- New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and New Orleans Hornets (for now) guard Chris Paul are the others -- and the sneaker brand unveiled its latest commercial for him earlier this week.
Jordan's theme this year is "Flight", whether that's flying by someone off the dribble, flying through someone on the way to the basket or flying over someone to finish at the rim. Wade's commercial is a straightforward and unspectacular take on the "flight" theme. The spot opens with Wade's defender stepping in to intercept a pass on the perimeter and looking to take it to the house for a dunk on the other end. Wade's instincts kick in and he prepares to leap through the air as the basketball court transforms visually into what looks like a massive skateboarding halfpipe. Wade uses some Matrix-like moves to scale a lift-off platform before the scene returns to the court, where he has now timed his leap perfectly to execute a chasedown block. The crowd reacts, Wade smiles at the baseline cameras and the tagline "This is flight" flashes across the scene. End scene.
Compared to Jordan's lockout efforts, this new ad is far less profound or evocative. Rather than making you rethink what you thought you knew about professional athletes and their dedication to the sport, this is all visceral: "Holy cow, he's way up there, doing extraordinarily athletic things." This isn't necessarily a bad approach. Many fans -- and consumers -- might feel strongly that the time for overthinking is over now that the NBA season is finally back.
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