Name a Chinese-born NBA player besides Yao Ming. Jeremy Lin doesn't count—he's a California boy.
How about Wang Zhizhi? Mengke Bateer? Yi Jianlian? Sun Yue? If you don't know those names, Ad Nut can't blame you; they all had lackluster careers and ended up returning to play in China. But you can bet young fans in China know them.
This explains why they're hoping to see the sixth Chinese national to make the league, Zhou Qi, succeed this year with Yao's old team, the Houston Rockets. And it explains why the Nike video above, from Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai, takes this hope about Zhou and turns it into a defiant message from young ballers to the would-be star.
The agency reports that it took the trouble to find out how people were really talking about Zhou, after which the spot "wrote itself". W+K also made it a point to shoot people and places you don't typically see in basketball commercials (so says Matt Skibiak, creative director, in a release).
Not having played a lot of basketball in China, Ad Nut can't really judge whether the ad succeeds on those counts, but does find it emotionally gripping—especially the moment near the end when some intimidating players threaten to come after Zhou if he doesn't seize this opportunity.
That said, Ad Nut is a peaceful, empathetic creature, who hopes the people of China won't really be too hard on Zhou if he should crash out of the league. Just getting there is an achievement, after all.
(So far this season, Zhou has played about 10 minutes, with four rebounds, a block, a couple of missed three-pointers, and zero points.)
VP Marketing: Steve Tsoi
Brand Communication Manager: Seven Yang
Executive Creative Director: Ian Toombs, Vivian Yong
Creative Director: Matt Skibiak, Enric Soldevila
Art Director: Felipe Revite
Senior Copywriter: Liu Wei
Head of Integrated Production: Sanne Drogtrop
Executive Producer: Bernice Wong, Frances Tan
Editor: Leon Yan
Senior Planner: Leon Lin
Business Director: Dino Xu
Account Manager: Shawn Kai
Account Executive: Max Ma
Head of Project Management: Nicole Bee
Project Manager: Jane Gu
Business Affairs: Jessica Deng, Kathy Zhan
Head of Designers: Fish Ho
Designer: John Yao, Bo Yang, Cece Huang
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Playfull Production
Director: Ian Schwartz
1st Assistant Director: Carson Ng
Director of Photography: Jacob Moller
Executive Producer: Wolfie Wong
Line Producer: Areta Mak
Art Director: Dong
Wardrobe Stylist: Ellen Bae
Sports Coach: William Pfouma
Casting: Johnny Gao
POST PRODUCTION (SH): FIN DESIGN (ONLINE)
Editorial: Luke Lynch
Post Executive Producer: Billy Becket
Post Producer: Ivy Shi
VFX Artist/Supervisor: Segundo Fernandez
Artist: Ted Tsui, Michael Fu, Camille Shen
Colorist: Ben Conkey
Producer: Devin (ZuZu)
Music: Major Tom
Track: Undeniable by Donnie Daydream
MIXING (SH): Gum Music Shanghai
Executive Producer: Thomas Faucheur
Engineer: Ronald Qiu
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