Undaunted by the massive proliferation of streaming services, Time Inc. is going over-the-top with a new service of its own.
Advertisers have been saying goodbye to Kobe Byrant, who plays his final NBA game on Wednesday night, with either comedy or drama. But Nike, which has always prided itself at balancing both, offers a mix in "The Conductor," a just-released spot that portrays the retiring 37-year-old Laker as an orchestra conductor fully in control of an arena of players, coaches and unruly fans—lovers and haters alike. The spot, created by Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., and directed by Mark Romanek, also features Phil Jackson, Paul Pierce, Rasheed Wallace, Benny the Bull and fans representing nine basketball teams.
Love and hate is Nike's big theme around the retirement of Kobe Bryant, who will play his 1,346th and final NBA game on Wednesday night. We saw this last week in this Nike spot from Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai in China, where Bryant is revered (but where, in the spot, he urged fans to consider hating him instead of loving him). There's a similar polarizing feel in Nike's U.S. farewell to Bryant, which gets the player's friends and foes (the ones who are also Nike endorsers) to sound off about the the Lakers star. Nike has also declared April 13 to be "Mamba Day," a reference to Bryant's nickname, Black Mamba.
As Kobe Bryant prepares to play his final NBA game this Wednesday, the tributes to the legendary Los Angeles Laker keep pouring in, including from brands. And while some of the Kobe commercials are sober and serious, others recognize the guy's decent comic timing and history of amusing ads—and are going for laughs.
Love him or hate him, Kobe Bryant is a legend. In China, they mostly love him—he's made a concerted effort, with Nike, to reach out to his Chinese fans over the past decade. And the Chinese have responded with adulation all but unmatched for American sports stars.
Global design firm AKQA and ubiquitous shoe manufacturer Nike have collaborated on a full-size LED basketball court for Nike Rise, a program designed to train Chinese youth based on the techniques and practice drills of Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant doesn't just play pianos. He makes them. Or so it would appear from the opening scenes of this new ad from Wieden + Kennedy pitching "The Kobe Piano," from which "every note [is] a comedy and tragedy that would make Shakespeare laugh and weep. It will turn piano boys into piano men. It will make Lionel Richie's tears cry tears." Turns out it's an elaborate metaphor for a line of shoes designed by Bryant for Foot Locker and Nike. The collection, the ad informs us, is the "grandest grand collection of grand collections." And yes, Richie himself makes a cameo—adding to his own commercial lore in the process. While the voiceover copy is a bit Old Spicey, the ad blends the winking melodrama of "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" with a healthy heaping of mock pretension, à la Bryan Cranston selling an iPad, and a dash of good old-fashioned Ron Swanson style woodworking. It has the obligatory sports-stats reference. It's beautifully shot and well paced, and entertaining enough. It makes its point, however circuitously, that the product is like a finely crafted instrument. A second spot, meanwhile, likens the collection to the invention of a better, stronger lightbulb—complete with a shattering sledgehammer and the ability to make even Judah Friedlander look dapper. Sorry, ladies. It's just another metaphor for sneakers. Credits below.
The year is almost over. So naturally, last week, a heart-tugging clip from Google compiling the most memorable moments of 2013 ruled YouTube with close to 20 million views.
Kobe Bryant made his long-awaited return to the court on Sunday, following a season-ending Achilles injury last season. And prior to that, the NBA legend made a triumphant return to marketing with a surprising pair of partners: soccer star Lionel Messi and Turkish Airways.
Along with two picks from the steady stream of holiday fare, this week's top commercials embrace the imperfect human body and perfect the art of the selfie. From uplifting to chuckle-inducing, there's something in this week's top picks for everyone. Which was the best spot? Vote below. And if your favorite isn't here, be sure to tell us in the comments.