The new Air Jordan XXX sneakers on Russell Westbrook's feet might actually be spaceships, a new commercial suggests—so everyone should probably get out of his way.
The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard stars in the ad for Nike's subsidiary Jordan Brand, along with a young hype man who delivers a searing introduction as Westbrook walks, in slow motion, onto the court.
Titled "Make Space," the minute-plus ad, created by Wieden + Kennedy New York, is aimed squarely at basketball fans and packed with game slang praising Westbrook's skill at getting buckets (points), boards (rebounds) and dimes (assists). It even coins a few of its own honorifics, dubbing the NBA player "WestWolf," "The Human TurboButton" and "The New Big Bang."
The writing is heavy with brio, and the kid's delivery is spectacular. His best line by far declares that Westbrook "ain't had a triple-double since—let me check my watch real quick—yesterday." It's a nod to the player's habit of scoring double-digit stats in three categories, and has the advantage of not being terribly far from the truth.
W+K describes the character as a personification of Westbrook's inner monologue while pumping himself up for a game—"brash, confident and a little unhinged," according to the agency. The miniature imaginary Westbrook puts it a little differently as the ad nears its end, saying of the regular-sized real Westbrook, "He's about to take off." Then the man himself finally speaks … to offer viewers "a window seat."
The tagline flashes across the screen—"The Next Frontier of Flight"—while jet engines squeal. After the screen fades to black, a giant shoe powers through outer space. Maybe it's a subtle hint that Westbrook will play a part in a certain upcoming sequel to a Looney Tunes movie about interstellar basketball, starring the Jordan brand's namesake.
Either way, nobody can knock Westbrook—or the marketer—for being too humble.
Client: Jordan Brand
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy New York
Executive Creative Directors: Karl Lieberman & Colleen DeCourcy
Creative Directors: Caleb Jensen & Jimm Lasser
Creatives: Blair Warren & Pepe Hernandez
Senior Producer: Orlee Tatarka
Head of Content Production: Nick Setounski
Account Team: Jordan Muse, Jonathan Chu, Liz Lindberg
Production Company: Anonymous Content
Director: Mark Romanek
Executive Producer: Eric Stern
Director of Photography: Rob Hardy
Editorial Company: Spotwelders
Editor: Robert Duffy
Assistant Editor: Sophie Kornberg
Post Producer: Amanda Slamin
Post Executive Producer
VFX Company: Method Studios
Executive Producer: Angela Lupo
Senior Producer: Julia Newland
Lead Flame Artist/Creative Director: Randie Swanberg
Music & Sound Design
Song: Blockbuster Night Part 1
Artist: Run The Jewels
Sound Designer: Brian Emrich
Music Supervisor: Maxwell Gosling/Little Ears & Andrew Kahn/GEMS
Mix Company: Sonic Union
Mixer: Steve Rosen