NBA Star Plays Atlas for Adidas

NEW YORK Kevin Garnett shoulders a burden in a new adidas TV spot, which broke on Monday.

The ad, by 180/TBWA and TBWA\Chiat\Day in San Francisco, shows the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Garnett walking down a Minneapolis street in his new KG adidas basketball shoes, as people run up and jump onto his shoulders until he is carrying a crowd. It was directed by Biscuit Filmworks’ Noam Murro. Thirty- and 60-second versions are playing on network and cable stations.

At first, creatives considered using Minneapolis celebrities like Jesse Ventura and Prince, but decided the spot should focus on Garnett. Thus, his sister, three of his closest friends from his hometown in South Carolina and his teammates all take part in the spot.

“We wanted Kevin to look at this as the most amazing family video he’s ever seen,” TBWA\C\D creative director and copywriter Scott Duchon said.

The idea “comes out of Kevin Garnett himself,” Duchon said. “He’s a leader of the team, the MVP of the league, he’s done some amazing things. It came out of the old saying, ‘A great player carries his team.’ “

At the beginning of the spot, three stunt people actually get on Garnett’s shoulders, though ropes held them up so the NBA player bears no weight. The rest of the stunt people were shot separately on a giant metal rig. Then Garnett wore a special rig equipped with prosthetic dummies. Method in Santa Monica, Calif., morphed the shots together to make it appear as though Garnett had hundreds of people on his shoulders.

“If Method didn’t nail it, it could have looked really sketchy,” Duchon said. “It had to be seamless and flawless and they did it.”

Other TBWA\C\D staffers on the campaign included executive creative director Chuck McBride and creative director and art director Geoff Edwards. Jennifer Golub served as agency producer.

A three-foot pullout poster of Garnett stretched out in a dive for a basektball on one side and on a couch on the other is running in July issues of ESPN Magazine, Source and Slam, among other periodicals. Outdoor ads feature the same images.

Campaign spending is undisclosed. The client spends about $40-45 million in the U.S on measured media annually, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

180/TBWA is a collaboration between 180 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and TBWA in the U.S.