Feel the hate in Nike’s new Kobe spot

Kobe_si_cover_1LeBron James won the MVP award at last night’s NBA All-Star Game, but it won’t take the spotlight off Kobe Bryant for long. Bryant’s new Nike ad, for the Zoom Kobe 1 shoe, is out—and it wisely portrays Bryant as the anti-hero. In the spot (we’re still looking for it online), Bryant says, “Love me or hate me—it’s one or the other. Always has been. Hate my game, my swagger. Hate my hunger. Hate that I’m a veteran, a champion. Hate that. Hate it with all your heart. And hate that I’m loved for the exact same reasons.” The “always has been” part is questionable—Wieden + Kennedy obviously sees the advantage in going darker with Bryant, which it wouldn’t have done early in Bryant’s career. Barbara Lippert at Adweek has a nice review of the new spot. It “smartly emphasizes the negative,” she writes, “by embracing his swagger and arrogance, rather than trying to cover up or sugarcoat a thing. In that way, it comes off as startlingly honest and authentic. At the same time, it offers the biggest non-mea culpa ever, and feeds on our built-up immunity to scandal.”

—Posted by Tim Nudd