Red Button Keeps the Focus on Adidas’ Kobetwo

San Francisco—A gravity-defying Kobe Bryant passes the ball through his legs and then slams it home in a new commercial for the Adidas Kobetwo athletic shoe.

The 30-second national TV spot will break on network and cable in early February. It’s the latest ad in the Kobetwo campaign launched by Portland, Ore., shop Red Button in late October following teasers earlier last year. Beaverton, Ore.-based Adidas America spent more than $30 million on Red Button’s Kobe campaign last year, according to the agency. Red Button has worked with Adidas on projects for two years.

Although using a slam-dunk to sell athletic shoes may be well-trod ground, Red Button creative partner Andrew Jenkins said basketball advertising has become “too polished, too marketed and too consumer-savvy.” The Kobe campaign sought to recapture the true spirit of the game, he said.

Creatives said they filmed the Los Angeles Lakers star fooling around on the set, unaware the camera was rolling. The result is an unpolished ad that captures his moves and close-ups of the silver-colored version of the Kobetwo shoe.

Previous spots featured Bryant’s teammates Brian Shaw and Mike Penberthy and rap stars Snoop Dogg and Warren G touting the feats they witnessed on the commercial set.

The new work breaks just a month after Adidas Salomon, based in Germany, shifted its $80-100 million global creative account from London’s Leagas Delaney to the team of TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., and 180 in Amsterdam.

Jenkins said that move is unlikely to affect the status of his agency, which has already presented work for a Kobethree campaign. “Red Button is a special-projects and creative boutique,” he said. “We work on accounts within accounts. … We just focus in on one thing and nail that.”

Adidas executives were unavailable for comment at press time.