W+K Portland, R/GA and Nike Salute Kobe Bryant with 2 New Spots

By Erik Oster 

UPDATE: R/GA created the love/hate generator. W+K made the ads.


W+K Portland launched a campaign for Nike celebrating Kobe Bryant‘s retirement and designating April 13 as “Mamba Day” in reference to Bryant’s nickname.

The “Mamba Day” campaign is centered around a pair of spots celebrating the retiring star in different ways. “Nike Athletes Salute Kobe Bryant” is pretty self-explanatory. The spot keeps things fairly simple, shot in black and white, with an impressive roster of Nike athletes weighing in on Bryant.

While this one mostly keeps things positive, the haters aren’t silenced either. Kevin Durant has a pretty choice word to sum up the Lakers star, for example.

Another spot, “The Conductor,” embraces the hate, with Bryant conducting a stadium full of fans’ shouts, jeers and insults to the tune of a reworking of Otis Redding‘s classic “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” (co-written by Redding and Jerry Butler). Bryant has never been one to shy away from the haters, so it’s a pretty fitting send-off, albeit one even the haters might be able to stomach (probably not though).

In addition to the two spots, the campaign also include a digital component allowing visitors to nike.com/mambaday on mobile to select either “Love” or “Hate” and describe Bryant in one word (as the stars in “Nike Athletes Salute Kobe Bryant” are asked to do), although certain selections will result in a “Nice try” message from the site (including Durant’s designation). The site then allows users to build a custom poster around the word. 


Client: Nike
Agency: R/GA and Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Director: Mark Romanek
Production Company: Anonymous Content
Executive Producers: SueEllen Clair, Eric Stern
Producer: James Graves
DP: Greig Fraser