Canadian Packaging

Nike & LeBron inspire Cleveland

See the power of advertising as a part of a product's packaging via a new Nike film starring LeBron James and a few others.


October 31, 2014
by Andrew Joseph, Features Editor, Canadian Packaging

To the casual observer, packaging is a container or cover—with or without graphics.

It is, of course, so much more.

While I won’t bore you by listing all the aspects of packaging—just wander around the Canadian Packaging website for a better understanding of how vast and diverse it truly is—in this instance, I wanted to talk about advertising.

Advertising is how companies market themselves, and is every bit as important as the practicalities of the product and the packaging surrounding it.

In fact, it is part of the total package.

Nike – the shoe manufacturer named after the Greek goddess of Victory – is renowned for its epic advertising in print, radio, television and with live promotions all featuring professional athletes paid to hawk their athletic shoes and sporting equipment.

Often its advertising and marketing is so powerful that it doesn’t even feature any of its products – except perhaps an almost subliminal image placement of the iconic Nike ‘swoosh’ graphic.

LeBron James, the prodigal son of Cleveland who was vilified by the city a few years ago when he left the National Basketball Association (NBA) team the Cleveland Cavaliers for sunnier climes in Florida, returned to the team this past summer.

Nike realized that despite having (arguably) the best basketball player on the planet wanting to come back to a city once abandoned, LeBron might still have a lot of fences to mend with the basketball fans of Cleveland, nay the whole city of Cleveland.

The result, is a film—not a commercial—entitled ‘Together‘, celebrating LeBron James’ return to Cleveland.

It’s a breathtaking and powerful film shot in black and white—a film that is the brainchild of Nike Basketball and the Weiden + Kennedy full-service integrated advertising agency who tapped the Malloy Brothers to direct it.

I’ll not spoil it by telling you just what the film is about, but just note that besides starring LeBron James, there are cameos by: Gloria Marie James (his mom); Dru Joyce (Cleveland Cavaliers coach); teammates Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Harris, Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Shawn Marion, Anderson Varejao and Dion Waters; kids from the LeBron James Family Foundation; and a few people from around the city.

It first aired on Thursday, October 30, 2014 – the same night that Cleveland opened up its season at home against the visiting Chicago Bulls.

Although Cleveland lost that game, it looks like LeBron has won back the hearts of Cleveland.

Oh yeah… and a win for Nike, as well.

There’s a video posted by Nike Basketball on YouTube. Go ahead and watch. Just do it.

It was almost enough to make me a Cleveland Cavaliers fan. Almost.

We The North,
Andrew Joseph