October 31, 2011
There's no NBA right now, but the lockout hasn't exactly lacked for basketball. If anything, the various summer league and exhibition contests around the country have provided fans more glimpses at the best players in the world than they'd get during the summer prior to the Olympics. Basketball has not stopped.
Shoe companies, however, tend to base their ad campaigns around basketball played at the highest level. They usually need players in NBA uniforms, or at least in a setting where hard work and determination matters. Without the NBA infrastructure, their usual commercials don't make a lot of sense.
Nike still wants to sell shoes, of course, and thereby acknowledged that a change was needed. What it ended up with, a new 90-second spot called "Basketball Never Stops," debuted over the weekend via the company's YouTube page. It has quickly amassed more than 500,000 views. If you missed it, you can check it out above. If you want an opinion on it, read after the jump.
What's notable about the commercial, in addition to the stellar lighting and general craft, is its lack of reliance on the NBA. There are clips of people playing pop-a-shot, Dirk Nowitzki(notes) working out in an otherwise empty gym, Kevin Durant(notes) playing in a rec-league game, and all manner of other basketball that's not played in front of 20,000 people who paid high prices for their tickets. Like a recent Jordan Brand ad, it's about love of basketball.
It's also probably more effective than a spot about Durant beating NBA defenses in an important moment. Everyone can aspire to be a great basketball player, but they can't necessarily identify with their situations on the court. Yet everyone who buys Nike basketball shoes knows what it's like to play on a city blacktop or in a small gym. It's a setting everyone understands.
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