Ad World Reacts to LeBron-calypse

By Kiran Aditham 

Though we’ve seen a ton of reaction to LeBron James announcing that he’s signing with the Miami Heat, including the expected jersey-burning in Cleveland, let’s take a look at what some folks within the ad community think. As we figured, there is no real consensus. Read on…

“LeBron’s brand went from being positioned as a Kobe Beef Steak to a Combo Meal. “The King” leads a court, he’s not a part of the court…It’s disappointing that he didn’t make the decision to carry the torch himself and made the easy choice. Teams win championships, yes, but all of the teams referenced were built around one superstar who made the players around him better. Jordan made Pippen, Grant, and Rodman better and they won–something LeBron wasn’t able to do as a one man show. He will no longer go down in history as the best player ever, a disappointment at such a young age, since Jordan carried a team on his own and LeBron in short order has proved that he can’t. “The King” needs to start thinking of a new title. Long live Jordan.”–Frank O’Brien, Founder, Conversation

“Overall, it’s a great move for LeBron. He’s put seven excellent years of his life and career (a lifetime for most professional athletes) with the Cavs. But it is never unreasonable for a true world class athlete to move to a spot where he or she maximizes their chance of accomplishing the ultimate accolades and prizes in the sport. The uproar from hometown fans is understandable (it echoes the response to David Beckham’s move from Manchester United to Real Madrid–an equally significant transfer that left a whole nation stunned), but in time they should focus on what he brought to them rather than the fact that he moved on. As far as the LeBron brand is concerned, it’s a terrific move. Advertisers are taking notice of his business savvy and his advisers clearly know that everyone wants to be aligned with a champion…It’s the move he needed to make to allow his brand to cross over and live in a wider world.”–Jay Lenstrom, CEO, Red Peak Group

“LeBron will do his talking on the court and Mr. Gilbert’s assertions of betrayal, and promises of delivering a championship to the Cavaliers, could come back to haunt him. Winners want to win — it’s as simple as that. LeBron is the best player since Michael Jordan, and he’s made a decision he feels is right for him in achieving his ambitions. Only time will tell if it was the right one.” — Toby Southgate, Managing Director, New York–The Brand Union

“..He’s destroyed the hopes of a region’s morale and economy for the second best “win now” option. Not too royal. A real king would have stayed with his people or left only to conquer New York.”–Josh Rogers, Creative Director for the Americas, Imagination

More: “Leo Burnett Dares LeBron to Step in MJ’s Shoes