After announcing his decision to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat, Lebron James faced a considerable amount of backlash. By announcing his decision in a one hour TV special, sitting down for a one-on-one interview, James irked not only Cleveland fans, but sports fans around the world.
Traditionally, when a player decides on where he/she wants to play, it’s a press conference setting, hosted by the team acquiring the player. The player and managers face the cameras and speak directly to the audience via television, radio or webstream. James went a whole other route and admitted afterwards he would have done things a lot differently if he had to do it again.
Here’s the latest ad by Nike featuring James.
So now James speaks directly to the camera, eye to eye, and asks ‘What should I do?”. He goes on to talk about his decision and what ramifications it could have. He spins the backlash from his decision into a motivator to persevere as a professional athlete. Typical sports ads deliver their message through actions. For example, an athlete would dunk a basketball or a hit a home run. A dialogue with the audience such as this ad is rarely used.
Grant McCraken’s comments about the ad and the individualism expressed by James and Nike are worth a read.
Cleveland filmmaker Dan Wantz recently released this response to the Nike ad featuring James, attached below. The video takes the Nike ad and splices in fan responses to what James should do.
Telling NewsChannel5, Wantz commented:
“I felt like Cleveland didn’t really have a voice in the matter. I saw a need for Cleveland to have a voice. I feel like this video was a good representation of how Cleveland feels.”
This comment is interesting because fans do have a voice. Message boards, blogs, Twitter and Facebook are all methods to give fans a voice and were used to support/jeer James’ decision. But it’s this video which matched the professional, polished look of the original Nike ad that really drew viewers on Youtube. It used footage from the original ad, clips from the decision and other highlights to really express a communities feelings. By wrapping all the feelings of Cleveland fans in a short clip, a summary is provided to fire right back at Nike and James. I found this to be much more powerful method to express feelings than social media tools.
Had to add this one. Just came out. MJ claims to have nothing to do with it though.