By popular demand, I’ve decided to post an analysis of Nike’s LeBron James ‘Chalk’ TV Spot (tip o’ the hat to Michael Miraflor for pitching in).
In case you missed the spot, which was in heavy rotation through Thanksgiving weekend, here it is:
So what does it all mean?
LeBron james has a pre-game ritual of reaching into the chalk/talc basket near the scorer’s table, rubbing it on his hands, then throwing it into the air. It’s electrifying, and the crowd usually goes wild. It looks like this:
The track in the spot is ‘Candyman’ from Cornershop (they also scored a charting hit in 1997 with ‘Brimful of Asha‘) which I believe may have gotten a little remix from Lil’ Wayne. And that track is several years old, but a hip-hop masterpiece.
The song title, ‘Candyman’ is usually used to reference drug pushers.
Lil’ Wayne made his first few bucks by selling cocaine.
Lil’ Wayne is in the stands in the spot.
Lil’ Wayne also brushes the chalk off his feet – possibly an allusion to his rise from the streets to fame — and giving up on cocaine.
The chalk is also featured in a donut/coffee shop and a barber shop. The former representing the blue-collar everyman, and the latter is one of the primary meeting places in urban culture. It’s where all the issues of the day are discussed.
This spot is phenomenal because it does the following:
1) It shows that Nike gets LeBron.
2) It shows that Nike gets basketball.
3) It shows that Nike gets the intersection of basketball, hip hop, and street culture.
4) It shows that Nike gets music.
5) And if you’re savvy enough to understand all the finer points of the spot, Nike understands you.
Sheer brilliance. Yes. TV spots can still be great at telling stories — but the web is a great place for continuing their discussion.
Another reason this spot is great? Director, Mark Romanek, director of some of the best music videos of our time (I highly recommend his DVD).
Here are the credits for the spot:
Title: The Chalk
Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, Portland
Creative Directors: Alberto Ponte, Tyler Whisnand, Jeff Williams
Copywriter: Caleb Jensen
Art Director: Taylor Twist
Executive Creative Directors: Mark Fitzloff, Susan Hoffman
Agency Producer: Erika Madison
Production Company: Anonymous Content, Los Angeles
Director: Mark Romanek
Executive Producer: Dave Morrison
Producer: Aris McGarry
Head of Production: Sue Ellen Clair
Director of Photography: Adam Kimmel
Editor: Robert Duffy
Post-Production: Spot Welders
Post Producer: Carolina Wallace
Assistant Editor: Patrick Murphree
Audio Post-Production: Lime
Mixer: Loren Silber
Colorist: Siggy Ferstl @ Riot
Effects: Digital Domain
VFX Supervisors: Brad Parker, Vernon Wilbert
VFX EP: Karen Anderson
VFX Producer: Melanie LaRue
Senior Flame Artists: Chris De Cristo, Andrew Eksner, Jonny Hicks, Pilon Lectez
Talent: LeBron James, Anderson Varejao, JJ Hickson, Daniel Gibson, Greg Oden, Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Lil Wayne, Jamie Nared
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