July 14--UPDATE: The W+K creative directors on the account responded to written questions from The Oregonian about the ad. Scroll to the bottom of this post.
Nike enlisted several celebrities -- many from its stable of endorsed athletes -- to participate in the luminary-studded Jordan Brand video honoring New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter, No. 2.
Portland-based Wieden+Kennedy, Nike's longtime advertising agency, created the new Jordan ad through its New York City office, spokeswoman Katie Hull said Monday.
The ad, now available on YouTube, will be broadcast during Tuesday night's All-Star Game, Nike spokesman Reggie Borges said.
While it is unmistakably a Jordan Brand video, the marketing impact for the Nike subsidiary is completely subdued compared to the emotional whump of the content...at least for the sports obsessed.
And this commercial has quite a line-up of the sports obsessed: From Jon Lester to Spike Lee to Rudolph Giuliani to New York City's finest to Carmelo Anthony to Billy Crystal to Boston Red Sox fans and even to a pixilated Mr. Met and actual Mets, they all show respect to Jeter, who is retiring at the conclusion of this Major League Baseball season.
Some of the other celebrities: Tiger Woods, Eric Koston, Action Bronson, Maya Moore, Phil Jackson, Jeanne Buss, Jay-Z, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Joe Torre, Tino Martinez, Jorge Posada and Michael Jordan
The W+K creative directors on the account, Gary Van Dzura and Jimm Lasser, responded to written questions from The Oregonian about the ad through an agency spokesperson:
If you can point to one thing, or a few things, where did the idea start for this video?
We started with the thinking that everyone respects Jeter as a player, and as a gentleman. He was a winner on the field, and he never sullied himself with steroids during a time when many players did. Then we noticed he has a tick when he steps into the batters box where he appears to sort of tip his helmet. We started thinking it would be a beautiful tribute if everyone tipped back.
How long ago did the brain-storming begin?
We concepted his back in March.
Once the idea was locked-in, how long did it take to produce?
It was a four day shoot last April. We had two months of post production, including editing, and an original music score.
The Mets are pixilated -- why?
It is a little bit of some New York humor: Like the Red Sox, the Mets are rivals of the Yankees. The pixelation is because those Mets players would get in deep trouble if they were seen honoring a Yankee.
The Red Sox are not pixilated -- why?
I think it was just how we wanted to present them. We liked the Red Sox playing the Yankees, on the field. We used the characters of the Red Sox fans in the bar as a humorous vignette to reflect the grudging respect for Jeter also.
-- Allan Brettman