Scott Suttell, managing editor of Crainâ€™s Cleveland Business tells us that Nikeâ€™s â€œMeet the LeBronsâ€ ads, featuring Cavaliers star LeBron James as multiple characters talking about not much of anything (heâ€™s selling shoes, naturally), get a B+ in this â€œAd Scorecardâ€ column on Slate.com.
Seth Stevenson writes that the ad series â€œseems like the first real effort to give the 21-year-old some personality. But it also says: Why stop at one personality when you can have four? According to the Web site, these characters are called Athlete LeBron (always in his b-ball uniform), Wise LeBron (with white hair and a beard), Kid LeBron (the goofy one wearing a sweat suit and headphones), and All Business LeBron (carefully groomed ‘fro, tailored suit, smooth-as-silk voice).
â€œRather than committing to a single image for LeBron, Nike throws out a smorgasbord and lets us pick our favorite. Are you an old-school type who hates flashiness and loves fundamentals? Wise LeBron is for you. Or perhaps you crave arrogance and bling: Meet All Business LeBron. Kid LeBron seems aimed at the less athletic, “lifestyle” segment (i.e., people who don’t ball but wear the shoes because they look cool). And Athlete LeBron is for the straight-ahead modern jock. It’s four image campaigns in one. And it covers all the bases.â€
Mr. Stevenson notes that in playing multiple roles, â€œLeBron joins a proud tradition: Alec Guinness in â€œKind Hearts and Coronets;â€ Peter Sellers in â€œDr. Strangeloveâ€ and other films; Eddie Murphy in â€œThe Nutty Professor.â€ Those other guys don’t have anything to fear, yet. Still, the ad works because James is game for the challenge and turns out to be a talented performer. Michael Jordan could never have pulled this offâ€”he always looked awkward just delivering his lines, never mind attempting to act. I guess, in the end, we do get a glimmer of LeBron’s inner self: He’s a ham!â€