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Jimmy Kimmel, Damian Lillard, and Some Serious Adidas Advertising

Thursday, August 27, 2015


In the past couple weeks, Damian Lillard has been on a serious advertising blitz for Adidas. I guess you could say that Adidas is making Lillard earn every cent of that contract that is valued at over $100 million. 

However, instead of utilizing the usual up-tempo, serious, and in-your-face advertising that we are used to seeing from Adidas’ media campaigns, they seem to be taking a different approach recently. This has taken the form of a new, and seemingly close, bond between Lillard and another party.

Coupling with the idea that Adidas has continued to trend in a light-hearted direction, it employed the use of some light humor. That being said, who better for Lillard and Adidas to partner with then former Man Show and current late night show host Jimmy Kimmel?

Thus, a newly formed friendship and partnership was born! Kimmel and Lillard’s first debut took the form of a Foot Locker-partnered commercial entitled “The Bobby Butter Story.”

In the commercial, Lillard walks with Andrew Wiggins, the NBA rookie of the year in 2015. After Lillard warns Wiggins about the woes of being “too complacent” with his early success, he shows Wiggins its effect on the former great Bobby Butter, played by Kimmel. 

If their success in this first attempt at advertising weren’t enough, Kimmel and Lillard partnered again on Kimmel’s show, “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on Aug. 20 for an on the air plug for Adidas new Adidas ZX Flux.

While on the air, Lillard suggests to Kimmel that, “The ZX Flux is available in so many colors and patterns, that the possibilities are infinite.” Kimmel, in disbelief, begins a hilarious banter with Lillard about possibilities. With every whimsical and ridiculous inquiry from Kimmel, a pair that he requests falls directly into Lillard’s lap.

All hilarity aside, Adidas may be on to something that we will see other big brands implementing. Before Lillard signed a contract with Adidas, their first-quarter sales in 2014 were $3,963 (in millions). The 2015 first-quarter sales jumped up to $4,649, showing an increase in 17.62%. 

It is definitely without question that the Lillard and Kimmel partnership doesn’t hold all the weight of the increase in sales. However, it looks like Adidas might be taking this strategy worldwide as seen by the Leo Messi commercial, which aired on Aug. 20 as well.

International resonance aside, it would be nice to see Lillard have some local features or nods. Take for example Lillard’s PDX carpet-themed shoes and the fact that he is the only remaining starter from the 2014-2015 season. I think Adidas could cook up something hilarious and sarcastic along the lines that Lilllard was the only Trail Blazer to not fly out of Portland while wearing the shoes.I personally am loving the light-hearted approach to advertising that Adidas has taken recently and, moreover, am hoping to see more of the Lillard and Kimmel partnership. I bet Adidas, Lillard, and Kimmel can continue their off-the-cuff and approachable advertising and am excited for the next party member they add to the mix.

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News here.


Related Slideshow: 12 of the Greatest Sports Movies of All Time

Hank Stern ranks his top twelve favorite sports films. 

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#12 Rollerball

Some of the non-athletic scenes in this dystopian classic show their age, but Rollerball is a strangely prescient film that anticipated both the corporatization of sport and fans’ limitless taste for violence. Bonus points for the ominous intro music.

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#11 A League of Their Own

A comedy that looks back to the antithesis of corporate sport – a women’s baseball league during World War II with many memorable lines to choose from (e.g.,”There’s no crying in baseball.”)

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#10 Remember The Titans

Yes, filmmakers took liberties with some of the facts dealing with the integration of a high school football team in Virginia. But there’s a reason football teams often screen this film on the eve of big games. It’s a damn inspirational tale.

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#9 The Natural

This film has grown on me over time. Originally, it seemed slow and schmaltzy. Now, it seems well-paced and charming. Then and now, the re-created scenes of pre-World War II ballparks arrive like perfectly preserved postcards from the past.  

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#8 The Longest Yard

Not the remake with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. But the hilarious original with Burt Reynolds and Eddie Albert as a wonderfully villainous warden who pits the guards against the inmates in a grudge football game that includes former Green Bay linebacker Ray Nitschke and other ex-football players like Sonny Sixkiller and Joe Kapp, both stalwart Pac-8 quarterbacks long, long ago.  

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#7 Slap Shot

The Hanson brothers. Enough said.

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#6 Rocky

Often imitated, but never replicated. The definitive underdog boxing story featuring Sylvester Stallone before he became a self-caricature in multiple sequels. Impossible to hear the theme song without being motivated to get off the couch.

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#5 Seabiscuit

A fantastic book as well as a great movie. Like “The Natural,” Seabiscuit captures its Depression-era setting for modern-day viewers taken back to an era when horse racing actually meant something in America. 

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#4 Requiem for a Heavywei

A too often-forgotten film these days but a wonderful boxing drama that shows the sport’s underside with memorable  performances by Mickey Rooney, Jackie Gleason and Anthony Quinn.

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#3 Hoosiers

Want to know something about small-town America in the 1950s and about Indiana basketball? This hoops movie does all of that with a healthy dose of redemption throughout. 

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#2 Bull Durham

There’s a pretty good case to be made this movie played a huge part in the rebirth and re-marketing of minor league baseball. As written by former minor leaguer Ron Shelton, there are many great scenes to choose from but this one is a favorite. 

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#1 Raging Bull

A rags-to-riches-to-rags story of boxer Jake LaMotta meets the actor born to play him, Robert De Niro. Not a false moment in this black-and-white powerhouse.


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