Go Go Commerce!

Like Nike needs my help in promoting this ad. But this is so classic, I have to post it. This is that strain of Nike ad-making that fueled the business up until recently, and helped create players as much as they helped create it. "The LeBrons" picked it up briefly, but this confirms what I'd been hearing: That these companies know the demand is there, and have been trying to get back to this. I definitely attribute this to Twitter, though not Obama; not sure how my theory about those two phenomena works when you introduce a third element. Regardless, this is the shit, even if it's somewhat redolent of past Undrcrwn efforts.

Stray thoughts:

-The mystery of Shard continues. I only found out recently that, rather than speaking in an affect-less whisper, dude has a thick Houston accent. How I didn't know this until recently is anyone's guess. But now he goes and raps in a way that in no way indicates his regional roots. This isn't a referendum on his skill as a rapper, though I guess bad rappers sound more generic. Just surprised me, in the same way that Delonte's bland freestyle voice did. Iverson should've set the precedent on this one!

-Where's the part, mentioned on Mo Williams's Twitter, where Iguodala saves AutoTune from stagnation? Now he doesn't even get a verse?

-Lewis looks most costumed. Williams, like that's what he wears around the house. Durant makes me think about what this ad means to people who aren't old enough to get all the references (includng him).

-Spent last night in the ID looking at Japanese teen fashion magazine. That's kind of the vibe I get from this.

-Never have I felt less like the ad world needed me. And I think that's a good thing.

-Is there going to be a backlash that demands more differentiation between West/East, or Afrocentric/gangster? It is all kind of lumped together. That's what makes the ad so great to me, but to the purist, it could be dangerous.

-Is this archaeology, a la the Jordan 9th game vid, or self-aware nostalgia?

-Mainstream-ing after the fact? Not that this stuff was so inaccessible, but rap's definitely bigger now than then.

-Back to the previous question: Exoticism, roots, or both?

-Finally: Missed opportunity that Ice Cube and Kobe appears in a Nike SB ad but failed to address the 3x2, to my mind the defining ball moment of West Coast hip-hop?

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At 8/07/2009 1:17 PM, Blogger O.D.B. said...

Shoals, you obviously need to write an essay-length post digging into this ad - if not an entire book.

At 8/07/2009 1:48 PM, Blogger mdflores said...

I want to name my child Velvet Hoop.

At 8/07/2009 1:49 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

As a nickname, that's pure 1976.

At 8/07/2009 3:14 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

The ladies are essential to the success of this commercial.

I'm partial to the offering of a gold chain to the hoop gods.

And, as contrast, last night I was assaulted by a Tide ad featuring Digable Planets' "Rebirth of Slick." I'm not mad at them, they probably had no control over use of the song (and I use Tide). Sadly, they probably won't get paid. My issues, instead, are:

(1) Who in creative thought, "Man, nothing sells detergent like slept-on early 90s jazz-sampling rap trios. We need some cool Digable Planets to convince our Gen X customers to buy our new soap that works in cold water. Get it, cool music for cold suds. I think I might get a Clio for this one!"

(2) If have to put up with another 50 or so years of being advertised to this way, I think I'm going to start advocating for the Logan's Run Solution.


At 8/07/2009 3:20 PM, Blogger Brendan K said...

Wieden+Kennedy has to have somebody/a group of somebodys who develops transitional player identities. LeBron comes pre-packaged with hype, but I want to know who at that firm gets to decide how they'll go about bringing a Kevin Durant up in the social consciousness. This shit fascinates me.

At 8/07/2009 3:22 PM, Blogger Brendan K said...

Also, Rashard spookily evokes that black cowboy from Big And Rich. On like, a lot of levels.

At 8/07/2009 3:22 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

Also, someone at FD HQ is going to call Ron-Ron and report back, right?


At 8/07/2009 3:35 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

@Brendan K--Agreed on the curiosity of developing athlete identity. Which also raises a question for me about how Nike picked this team. Generationally, they're not really a fit, so it's odd to decide to position them all with the same ad.

And now that I think about it, putting Shard and Durant in the same ad is a bit unkind to Sonics fans.

At 8/07/2009 3:49 PM, Blogger Teach said...

So is Velvet Hoop the nickname that will stick for Durant? There was talk of what finding him a better nickname a day or two ago.

At 8/07/2009 3:50 PM, Blogger Teach said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/07/2009 4:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Mr. Six -- I called him this morning, he asked me how I was, I wished him luck in LA, he invited me to call back any time and [presumably] moved to the next caller

I enjoyed it

At 8/07/2009 4:40 PM, Blogger M.A.P. said...

can someone please explain to me why Mo Williams has an extra finger??

At 8/07/2009 7:28 PM, Blogger Eric said...

@ Mr. Six- Yea, that commercial bugs the shit out of me. But I really dug the D. Wade commercial with "Can I kick It" in the background, so I'm not sure what that means.

Anyway, Durant wearing an Africa medallion is pretty much the best thing ever. And the rest of it...well, yea. Awesome.

At 8/08/2009 1:35 AM, Blogger El Presidente said...

Enjoyable as far as advertising goes.

I saw on twitter you wrote, "Monta is one letter shy of "MONGA". Or wait, does that make Ellis "Myth of Next T___ A____"? (suggestions?)"

Tiny Archibald?

At 8/08/2009 1:55 AM, Blogger John said...


At 8/08/2009 12:51 PM, Blogger J.R. said...

I can't believe that no one has pointed out how Durant owns this commercial. He is so much better than Williams and Lewis (and Lewis looks stiff as hell at times). Dude raps (or recites, anyway) like he plays - smooth, but to win.

At 8/09/2009 12:08 AM, Blogger M.A.P. said...

Seriously can some explain why Mo has an Extra Finger????

At 8/10/2009 2:03 AM, Blogger The Backwards K said...

Contrarian in me: This is crap. Reminds me of the late 20somethings I know throwing 80's themed parties; nostalgia for no reason, attachment to something without regard for the 'something' involved. Because the 80's fucking sucked.

Businessman in me: Neither Durant nor Mo will actually wear the Hyperize, Mo apes whatever Bron has on and Durant has his own sig. So why bury Durant - clearly the most charismatic - with lesser players around him for a generic Nike TB product?

Basketball critiquer in me: Mo is out of his league here. I'm surprised dude has enough air in his lungs left to rap (badly) after he spent the whole of the playoffs choking.

Summarian in me: Durant and Lewis ALMOST pull the commercial up, but it's too buried by the heavy pen of the ad agency to resonate. Nike will often be cloying ("look how awesome we are! see, it's like an old school rap video! GET IT!?!?"), and here they're that and too all over the place. First time I saw this I dug it, and each time it gets much worse.

I appreciate Shoal's enthusiasm, but it (commercial) rings hollow to me. Same thing with the SB ad linked; it's not actually original or very good. I can picture the coked-up ad pitchmen: "how about we play 'today was a good day' while PROD skates around, having a good day? Then Ice Cube HIMSELF will cameo!!"

(Separate comment - I know a lot of the big names in rap have spent a lot of their time diluting their own brand, but Jesus - fucking Ice Cube as a representative of cool? That still holds water? At least get Dre or someone who spent the time after NWA rapping/producing, not starring in shitty PG fare.)

Absolutely the final paragraph: Nike (for me) does better when they talk shit in the commercial. When they're exhorting you to run or challenging your better (http://tiny.cc/XH6PX or http://tiny.cc/XOMqq or http://tiny.cc/eY3d0), they're at the top of their game. But this faux-retro bullshit just reeks of PR men, and it doesn't have that energy.

All IMO, obviously.

At 8/10/2009 4:12 AM, Blogger Jason said...

"Today was a good day" is an ice cube song.

In this song, there is a lyric that states, "The Lakers beat the Supersonics."

There, half of the commercial makes sense. What will you guys (trying to come off as half as intelligible as FreeDarko) bitch about next?

At 8/10/2009 5:23 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Um, I think based on the "Ice Cube HIMSELF" line, it's clear Backwards knows who sings the song.

At 8/10/2009 7:59 PM, Blogger joseph said...

excuse my if i'm stating something obvious but i see at least someone is asking about that 6th finger.

it seems to be there for the "fog raw" 6 finger ring.

At 8/19/2009 5:12 PM, Blogger Nutela said...

Who was the short guy in the video????lol


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