In tandem with Ogilvy & Mather, I was charged by Decon to craft a 360-degree print, video, and social campaign that put a shot of adrenaline into the Reebok retro brand, springing the Kamakazee, Question, and Pump sneakers back to life. I pitched a number of ideas for the campaign, but the following two concepts were my favorites.
Alternate Universe – Video treatment
In an edgy, alt-comic animation, we take Adult Swim to the hole. We open on a basketball court in a dystopian wasteland.
Assets are in the middle of a life-and-death battle of hoops against a team of blue mutants. The sky is red. Volcanoes spew lava on the horizon. A hardcore, hip hop beat thunders from above. Play is intense.
When Jameer Nelson passes the ball to Isaiah Thomas, the mutant adversaries descend on Thomas like zombies. Thomas flips the ball to Ramon Sessions. When Sessions gets the ball, a mutant knocks it away by throwing his brick phone at him. (You heard me, a brick phone). Finally, the mutants seize all the players, ripping their clothes and shredding their kicks. Cut to an air hanger in deep space where Reebok kicks are parked like jets. A radar screen pulses. A siren wails. On the super computer the words, “BALLERS IN PERIL” strobe.
The kicks blink to life. One by one, the shoes launch from the hanger blasting through space. Back at the court, the Reeboks hover above the guys as they fight the mutants. The sneakers fire a blast wave. The mutants are stunned just long enough for the sneakers to place themselves on the ballers’ feet. Revived, Andre Miller leaps up and grabs the ball. He drives the lane. Flash bulbs flicker. The ball is passed to Thomas who launches into a slow-mo jump shot. The mutants try to deflect it. They throw up everything they’ve got: hands, feet, a shoe, a boom box… the ball weaves in the air dodging it all. While floating in the air, Thomas reaches with an absurdly long arm and pulls in a posh couch from off screen, on which he lands gently reclining. The rest of the team enters the shot. Relaxed pounds are exchanged. Everyone chills. The shot pans to a big screen TV in front of the couch. On the screen, the ball is still weaving. The instant the ball on the screen goes in the net, Jason Terry says,
“Yo. Change the channel. I’ve seen this.” Terry kicks his feet up next to Thomas’s, revealing product.
Body & Sole – Video treatment
Basketball is a game grounded in footwork. It builds character and allows you to establish a reputation, both good and bad depending how nice you are.
Even the biggest behemoth on the court can only catch so much respect without a smooth up and under. The same footwork theory applies to anything that’s supposed to look good, especially dance. And particularly if that dance is called “Footwork,” a craze that was born out of the South Side of Chicago.
With Footwork, dancers challenge each other to stake their reputation on warehouse dance-offs, where the battlefield is a circle of friends and enemies. It’s a lot like a game of one-on-one… Let’s bring these two worlds together and see if the kids in Chicago and our assets can learn a thing or two from each other. We arrange for our assets to meet these kids for a Footwork vs. footwork session.
We create a mini-documentary about the rich history of the Juke movement and how the legacy of basketball informs the moves and culture of that scene. In an old gymnasium, our players chop it up with onlookers as they marvel at individual dancers who compete against each other on the hardwood. The DJ dictates the flow, the dancers, the energy.
Points are scored by the ooh’s and ah’s of the crowd while our assets get to try out a few Footwork steps themselves before by showing the dancers some of the moves that made them the basketball stars they are today.