In his eminently readable book Which Lie Did I Tell?, legendary author, screenwriter and script doctor William Goldman discusses how the very things that made Michael Douglas a strong producer made him a liability in the dual role of producer/lead actor for “The Ghost and the Darkness.” Douglas pushed Goldman to expand his character’s role, giving him a backstory to explain his motivations and character flaws…and it killed the movie. No one cared, and it kinda made Douglas’ hunter character a wimp. Clint Eastwood never explains the source of his pain or personal demons–he just works through them and lets you figure it out. Otherwise, it sounds too much like whining…
This new ad from Nike for LeBron James immediately called to mind that anecdote. As you’d expect, this spot is well-produced. It’s charmingly acted. It’s engaging with the pop culture Miami references. Still…he just kind of bugs me now.
Oh I like it. But I kind of hate myself for liking it.
I understand Nike needs to protect their investment. They need to polish the James brand. But as clever as this is, it’s a band-aid on a chest wound. Ultimately, LeBron can only fix his image on the court. Quit whining, quit explaining, get over your own damn self and play.
Until then, he’s only gonna generate fan reactions like evanw3’s comment on another blog: “Lebron’s phone is always on vibrate….it too does not have a ring.”
By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79
PS: Thanks to Prashant Nashi for sending this video my way.