LeBron James most likely doesn’t have an answering machine, but if he did, it would probably sound a lot like this today.
Nike continued its longstanding campaign of LeBron-centric ads Thursday night when it debuted a new television spot featuring friends of the Heat superstar leaving him messages in the wake of his second NBA title.
The commercial was spotted by Sean Highkin of USA Today, and it’s either haunting or spectacular, depending on your view of James. Regardless of your opinion, it provides an interesting look into the world of an NBA champion after achieving his life’s greatest goal for the second year in a row.
The machine clicks through the messages, which include congratulations from famous friends like Bill Russell, Dr. Dre and others.
One of the notable messages is from Warren Buffett, whom I didn’t even know had met James, but hey, I guess the Buff’s got a mean hook shot.
From an advertising standpoint, the presentation of the commercial is simple, creative and memorable. The premise isn't believable, considering no one has a physical answering machine sitting on their kitchen counter anymore—at least no one who makes $45 million in salary and endorsement deals a year—but it still works.
You couldn’t have a commercial with text messages rolling into James’ phone and have the same effect. Dr. Dre calling from a raucous party ambiance would’ve lost its in-the-moment feel, and Lord knows Russell could never muster the wherewithal to figure out how to navigate emojis. You can literally hear the former Celtics star’s rotary dial phone ringing in the background.
It was an interesting direction for Nike to take, and most of all, it required a ton of confidence on its part and the parts of his friends. It was a message to their fans as much as it was a congratulations to James. It showed its star-endorsed player how confident his friends were in his ability to win this series by having them pre-record their congratulations.
That’s a statement that rings from the bottom of the masses all the way up to the king atop his throne, and it turns out, you can leave James a message, too.
Nike has set up a phone line where fans can call in and leave a message for James. The number is 305-767-2226. Try to keep it clean, everyone, and remember—if you don't have anything nice to say to the king, don't call his Nike hotline.