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It is no secret that Nike/Jordan are amazing marketing companies.  Their uncanny ability to create brand loyalty, consumer awareness, and a psychological bond between the consumer and their products, to me, is second to none.  Case and point, the new Jordan XXI commercial.  I first saw this commercial over the weekend while in my hotel room in AC.  Now I will be honest when I say that I almost (almost but not really) shead a tear once the commercial finished.  I was speechless.  (Click More)

Within the 30 second spot that this commercial ran, I basically relived the most powerful basketball moments of my childhood.  BUT, what makes this commercial even more powerful, is the fact that although MJ performed all of the dazzling feats seen in the commercial, he only appears in the commercial at the end, for a quick approving glance.  These dazzling feats are recreated by young basketball players that emulate MJs defining moments (sometimes I hate those two words).  Why is this powerful?  Well in my view, the commercial captures two very important aspects of the Jordan Brand in an extrememly genuine and potent manner.

(I will preface the next portion of this post by saying that this is my interpretation of the commercial, you are free to disagree/agree)

The first aspect this commerical captures is the historical “I want to be like Mike” feeling.  Unlike many other “want to be like Mike” commercials that preceeded this one though, this commercial captures this feeling in a genuine and natural way.  The young players perform MJs historically amazing moves in natural settings and in natural motions.  While other commercials in the past have shown people trying to be like Mike in their backyard or in their office, this commercial shows aspiring ball players naturally performing like Mike, not merely trying to immitate Mike, but actually BEING, somewhat unconciously, Mike.  What drills this point home even further is the fact that if you had never had the pleasure to see these moves performed during your lifetime, you would think that this was just a regular commercial with kids playing basketball.  The subtle “you know whats going on in this commercial” undertone is amazing. 

The second an extremely important aspect that this commercial captures is the current status and growth of the Jordan Brand.  MJ himself only appears at the very end of the commercial and only for what seems to be for a spilt second.  His approving glance, as he watches all of the young players recreate his moves, symbolizes that MJ no longer needs to be the sole force behind promoting the Jordan Brand.  His presence, although always inherrent in every JB product, no longer needs to be explicit.  Jordan Brand has grown to the point where the consumer is now able to mentally create the connection between a Jordan product and the man and his legacy on their own.  This commercial is less about Jordan the Man and more about Jordan the legacy and Jordan the product. As the Jordan Brand continues to grow, and as MJ continues to age (say it aint so), the brand must prepare itself for life with less and less of Jordan.  Maybe this was the first step.  Again, I almost shead a tear….

Only Nike/Jordan could make a product that was initially launched to mixed reviews, become a staple within a collector’s and players collection.

I will admit, this commercial has persuaded me into possibly purchasing the sneaker.  Whereas before, I was not even considering it.


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