Leagas, Adidas Pit Bryant vs. Nike

$15-20 Mil. Effort Centers on Basketball Stars
SAN FRANCISCO–Leagas Delaney is unveiling Adidas America’s most ambitious U.S. campaign to date, revolving around four basketball pros.
The estimated $15-20 million effort from the San Francisco agency starts with a spot featuring the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, even as the National Basketball Association season is stalled by a player lockout.
The push hits the airwaves as Nike prepares ads starring Michael Jordan, slated to break around Thanksgiving.
The air date of the first spot is undecided, but was expected to be between Oct. 24 and Oct. 31, sources said. A second Bryant spot will air in November; ads with him and three others will run in the first half of 1999.
All the Bryant ads feature a shoe named after him, the KB8II, and show the player shooting hoops in an urban street game–no crowds, no stadium, no uniforms. “We want to reflect love and respect for the game, whether it’s played in the NBA or a schoolyard,” said Sean Ehringer, Leagas’ head of art. The Bryant ads all start with the same camera shots and are meant to be seen in sequence.
In the first spot, there is a quick image of Bryant’s Adidas-clad foot as he plays. As he goes up for a shot, the action slows and viewers hear his thoughts as he considers what to do with the ball: “Right hand, no left hand dunk it? Nah ” He grins at the camera, then tosses the ball to a teammate. The untagged spot ends with the logo.
Appearing later in the campaign are the Boston Celtics’ Antoine Carr, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Tim Thomas and the Toronto Raptors’ Tracy McGrady.
Leagas handles about $60 million of Adidas business in the U.S.