One of Reebok's first TV spots from The Heat in Boston became the subject of an editorial complaint by The Los Angeles Times last week.
The Times' review of "Rites of Passage" (shown here) questioned the use of the spot's star, basketball player Allen Iverson. In the commercial, shots of a graffiti mural are shown as a voiceover raps about Iverson's brushes with the law--among them, gun possession. The campaign, which broke three weeks ago, carries no tagline.
"Is Reebok serious?" asked the Times, calling Iverson a talented athlete but no role model, and adding, "The suggestion that an athletic shoe can help reform behavior is absurd."
Reebok representative Dave Fogelson shrugged off the comments, "Allen has always been extremely forthright." Fogelson continued, "He doesn't duck issues He recognizes the consequences for his actions and knows what his responsibilities are to the team and the fans. It all boils down to different people's points of view."
The Heat is a spinoff of Heater Advertising, also in Boston. Heater is Reebok's lead creative agency. --Sarah Jones