• 09.11.13

Nike Football Splits the Difference Between Calvin Johnson and Diddy

Sean “Diddy” Combs becomes star wide receiver Calvin Johnson’s alter ego, creating a hard line between work and play.

What would you do with an alter ego–someone to whom you could delegate certain parts of your life? You’d likely give them the menial tasks, dirty work, and repetitive duties, freeing you up for life’s more enjoyable endeavors. While fantasizing over workhorse clones is still the stuff of science fiction, though, a new campaign for Nike Football flips that script in imagining how star wide receiver Calvin Johnson might use another self.


An episodic campaign created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland, “Calvin & Johnson” splits the athlete’s life in two. On one side is Calvin who’s dedicated to getting faster and bettering his game; on the other is Johnson, played aptly by Sean “Diddy” Combs, who instead breezily manages the excess and intense celebrity that comes with superstar status.

As an inspirational entreaty to work hard at what you do, the campaign succeeds nicely. With so many young athletes losing their way under the pressure of press attention, the demands of social media and all of the attendant perks of fame, the notion of alternate personalities both acknowledges the non-athletic demands of star athletes while elevating focus and determination as job number one.

However, we’d like to have a word with Diddy to see if he can hook us up with an alter ego for things like transcribing interviews and house cleaning.

See the first ads in the series, photographs, and a behind-the-scenes making of the spot in the slide show above.

About the author

Rae Ann Fera is a writer with Co.Create whose specialty is covering the media, marketing, creative advertising, digital technology and design fields. She was formerly the editor of ad industry publication Boards and has written for Huffington Post and Marketing Magazine.