We’re all familiar with those shoe commercial cliches: the epic theme music, players practicing jump shots in a dramatically lit gym, early morning runs through some random industrial neighborhood, and a workout regimen that is capped off by flipping tires in a wheat field. It’s how Nike, Reebok, and their cohort try to convince you that a shoe will make you an amazing athlete. Now Foot Locker and agency BBDO New York are poking fun at that
spurious message, while illustrating the truth behind the cliches, with their new spot, “Ready To Fly.”
The ad, directed by O Positive’s Jim Jenkins, features Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook asking a young upstart clad in Air Jordan XX9s, if he’s ready to fly. The lad says sure, (he’s got the shoes after all), but he’s not prepared for the grueling practice routine. He’s certainly not ready for the cameo from Spike Lee, who shows up to say that if he really wants to Be Like Mike, then he should follow Jordan’s lead and retire. The message is a good one. Greatness isn’t about posturing; it’s about pushing yourself to the limit. And what a balancing act for Foot Locker: acknowledging that a shoe alone won’t make you an athlete, while at the same time, trying to sell you that shoe.