Morrison Lights EA’s Fire

LOS ANGELES Three black-and-white spots for Electronic Arts’ NBA Live game were shot on an outdoor court and introduce Adam Morrison, the personable and unassuming Charlotte Bobcats 21-year-old draft pick, as pitchman.

“We lucked out, that’s his personality, and we wrote the spots to fit it,” said Mike McCommon, creative director at independent Wieden + Kennedy, who worked with partner, cd Kevin Jones. Aaron Allen was the art director, and Ian Fairbrother wrote the copy.

“We played video games with him at first, and he brought some of his friends,” said McCommon. “We were recording audio for possible future spots. We tried to get him excited by saying that the next round would win the Xbox—he got as excited as his friends.”

An introductory spot shows Morrison lumbering tentatively to the top of the key to musical cues suggesting a heroic courtroom drama. He unfolds a piece of paper and begins to read, “I, Adam Morrison, will be comfortable with the following nicknames … ” He goes on to read his list, which includes, “Spokane’s Most Wanted, Big Vanilla Earthquake, The Conundrum, The Maniac, The Great Mustachio, Mind-Boggling Morrison, The Tall Ninja, Hurricane Tsunami, Sergeant Awesome [and] Disco Thunder Dunk.”

A second spot, set to an acoustic guitar accompaniment, makes fun of Morrison’s youthful, wispy mustache with an exaggerated close-up that slowly zooms out. “My mustache speaks to me,” he says. “It tells me the right combination of ingredients to keep it flaxen. It says, ‘Together, we have returned the NBA to the glory of the mustache days.’ In the off-season, my mustache and I will drive around in a muscle car solving mysteries. Times will be good. My mustache is very wise.’ “

A third commercial shows Morrison shooting hoops before confessing to the camera, “Yeah, I cried. I cried on national television. So what? Failure hurts. In that moment, winning was everything. When I get to the NBA, more people will cry.”

Each spot ends with the title, “How does it feel?” and an NBA Live graphic logo. Morrison performs the voiceover tagline, “It’s in the game.”

Morrison just signed to represent TBWA\Chiat\Day’s brand Adidas, rival to W+K’s client Nike.

Electronic Arts spent about $5 million advertising NBA Live in 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.