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This is one of those posts inspired by actual events. A few nights ago I was watching tv --Family Guy, if you must know-- and this commercial came on. I paused the dvr (oh, the wonders of technology) and rewound it to watch it again and again. As an advertising creative for over 20 years, I can assure you this happens very rarely. Turns out, the spot is the part of new marketing effort conceived of and executed by Anomaly for Converse.
Basketball legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Carlos Arroyo of the Miami Heat; musicians Jim Jones and Doug E Fresh, legendary ball-handler and God Shammgod, Harlem streetball player Adrian "A-Butta" Walton, Kenny Anderson, Converse skaters, Sammy Baca, Eli Reed, Rune Glifberg and more 'Join The Procession' in Brooklyn for this new :60 commercial for Converse, shot by the director of "Training Day."
The white-haired guy under the hood is basketball great Dr. J., looking better than he did in his heyday. Don't roll your eyes... I had to explain that, given that most people under 30 have no idea who he is (including my 19 year old dog walker and her friends).
The spot, directed by Antoine Fuqua from Pittsburgh, has stunningly composed shots, editing, music ("Hello Operator" by the White Stripes) and color transfer. Each frame in the spot is composed and lit like a miniature piece of art.
Coincidentally, director Antoine Fuqua landed a college scholarship to play basketball, but the power of cinema drove him to a successful career as a film director. He is best known for the award-winning film Training Day.
Behind the Scenes
In this behind the scenes video, Director Antoine Fuqua talks about the concept behind the commercial, while participants like Jim Jones, Carlos Arroyo, Doug E Fresh, and Luam Keflezgy talk about the passion around the culture. And the struggle. And the sunshine:
a 15: cut about Dr. J, the blueprint:
“[Basketball]…it’s like a ritual. The basketball being the thing that brings everybody [together]. The rhythm and the beat,” says director Antoine Fuqua. “Converse is taking it to the streets. The streets are the heart beat.”
On their blog, Converse asks you to "Join the Procession" and in addition to the ad, each of the stars are featured in a series of online vignettes taken from outtakes that illuminate their mutual admiration for each other and that blur the lines of sport, music and lifestyle. The resulting short clips showcase new cultural, iconoclastic moments including Kenny Anderson teaching Dr. J a kickflip, and God Shammgod showing Sammy Baca how to do the “Shammgod”, his signature crossover move. Check them out here.
Agency: Anomaly Client: Converse Executive Creative Director/Partner: Mike Byrne Creative Director: Ian Toombs Head of Production: Andrew Loevenguth Account Person: Stanley Lumax Production Company: Anonymous Content Director: Antoine Fuqua Director of Photography: Harris Savides Executive Producer: Dave Morrison Producer: John Bennet Editorial: Beast Editor: Lucas Eskin Executive Producer: Elizabeth Krajewski Producer: Elizabeth Krajewski Editorial Assistant: Jai Shukla Post: Company 3 Telecine: Tim Masick Flame Artist: Tom McCollough Executive Producer: Angela Lupo Mix: Audio Engine Mixer: Tommy Goldblatt Music: “Hello Operator” by The White Stripes Music Clearance: Sara Matarazzo Information and images courtesy of Converse. Some text portions in this post were directly taken from the press release.