Marketing with a Purpose – Leo Burnett Dares LeBron to Step in Michael Jordan’s Shoes

July 3, 2010

Chicago Ad Agency Leo Burnett Dares LeBron to Step in MJ’s Shoes using extremely bold advertising campaign

If you are the Chicago Bulls, and you really want LeBron James to leave Cleveland and play with you, evidently, now is when you pull out all the stops.

Rock Star Marketing Alert!

You don’t ask LeBron James to come to Chicago and play for the Bulls. You don’t beg him to come to Chicago (Like the Knicks and Nets did), you dare him. “LeBron, the fans of Chicago have a question for you,” reads the two-page ad that ran in Thursday’s Akron Beacon Journal, James’ hometown paper. “Can you cast a shadow this big?”

The image is of an outline that looks just like Michael Jordan’s, classic flying through the air ball in one hand image that we are all so familiar with, spread out over the Chicago cityscape.

Dreamed up by sports-loving ad guys at the city’s Leo Burnett agency and paid for by Burnett, it was the culmination of a four-day campaign featuring a fresh challenge each day. Here is a description of the other days of the campaign from the Chicago Tribune:

Monday, they sent to his house the classic red, white and black Air Jordans and asked if he could fill those shoes.

Tuesday it was a case featuring seven empty ring boxes, representing one more championship than Jordan won here, and the question, “Can you fill these boxes?”

Wednesday was a mock-up of a Chicago Tribune 10 years hence — still going strong, by the way — and the headline “Sweet Throne, Chicago: With Title No. 7, It’s Officially King James’ Court.”

This is a pretty bold move, don’t you think? I really like day 1! Imagine, you’re LeBron James… You receive a package containing a pair of Classic Air Jordans. Inscribed inside the box top is the following:

You’re a King, But

Can you live up to a legend?

Can you take on the greatest challenge in sports:
Look History in the eyes every ight.

And refuse to blink.

The Fans of Chicago Have a Question For You.


Now here’s a question for you: What bold move could you make right now that could propel your business forward. It might not be as high profile as this all out campaign to get LeBron James, but what can you put to work for you right now?

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