Kobe Encourages the Haters in New W+K Shanghai Nike Spot

By Patrick Coffee 

Kobe Bryant announced his retirement last year, leading many to recall the fact that he never really wanted to be loved anyway.

We all know what he did for the game and its brands in the U.S., but what about China?

W+K Shanghai’s latest campaign for Nike tells us that young ballers in China don’t share Americans’ mixed feelings about the dude who would be like Mike: “Millions of Chinese don’t just love Kobe, they worship his every move. … Today he is seen as the powerful and beloved mentor of Chinese basketball and China’s adopted sport hero.”


But whoa there, he says. Not so fast. “Don’t Love Me…Hate Me.”

The release tells us that Kobe “chose to focus on becoming a legend rather than being a hero,” but that didn’t really feel like much of a humblebrag, tbh.

It’s playing on the idea that Kobe used Chinese athletes’ famous fear of failure to inspire them to be better players. The footage comes from 10 years worth of Nike-sponsored trips to China.

W+K Shanghai creative director Terence Leong says, “Together with Nike China and Kobe, our team crafted the script and made sure the film was just as provocative as the man himself. It was an intense and uncompromising process because Kobe was just as demanding on the creative team as he was on the Lakers.”

Kobe is still playing, and his team’s record is currently 16 and 62. But whatever he does after retiring, we hope he doesn’t launch a new content platform like his colleague Derek Jeter.


Brand Name: Nike
Campaign Name: “Kobe Last Season”
Spot Name: “Don’t love me, Hate me”
Launch Date: 7 April 2016
Agency: Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai

Agency Credits
Executive Creative Director: Yang Yeo
Creative Directors: Terence Leong, Azsa West
Copywriters: Nick Finney, Wei Liu
Sr. Art Director: Shaun Sundholm
Sr.Designers: Patrick Rockwell, Will Dai
Dir. Of Integrated Productions: Angie Wong
Assistant Producers: Yuan Fang/Jiji Hu
Offline Editor: Hiro Ikematsu
Business Director: Dino Xu
Associate Account Director: Jim Zhou
Account Executive: Shawn Kai
Sr. Planner: Paula Bloodworth
Digital Strategist: Bill Tang
Project Manager: Nicole Bee
Business Affairs: Jessica Deng, Kathy Zhan

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Elastic TV / Lunar Films
Director: Biff Butler
Line Producer: Kelly Christensen
Director of Photography: Rachel Morrison
Executive Producer Elastic: Belinda Blacklock
Managing Director Elastic: Jennifer Sofio Hall
Executive Producer Lunar Films: Ken Yap
Post Producer Lunar Films: Jeff Tannebring

EDITORIAL: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Biff Butler & Alyssa Oh
Post Producer: Christopher Noviello
Executive Producer: Angela Dorian, Linda Carlson
Post Production: a52

2D VFX Artists: Michael Vaglienty, Adam Flynn
Smoke Artist: Chris Riley
Conform: Gabe Sanchez
Rotoscope Artists: Tiffany German, Cathy Shaw, Robert Shaw
Colorist: Paul Yacono
Design: Pete Sickbert-Bennett
2D/3D Animation: David Do, Steven Do, Claudia De Leon, Sam Cividanis
Senior Color Producer: Jenny Bright
Producer: Drew Rissman
Head of Production: Kim Christensen
Deputy Head of Production: Carol Salek
Executive Producer: Patrick Nugent
Original Music, Sound Design and Mix: Lime Studios
Original Music: Andy Huckvale
Mixer: Zac Fisher
Assistant Mixer: Kevin McAlpine
Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan