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Kobe Bryant Handcrafts Pianos and Sneakers in Ad That Makes Lionel Richie Cry


Kobe Bryant doesn't just play pianos. He makes them.

Or so it would appear from the opening scenes of this new ad from Wieden + Kennedy pitching "The Kobe Piano," from which "every note [is] a comedy and tragedy that would make Shakespeare laugh and weep. It will turn piano boys into piano men. It will make Lionel Richie's tears cry tears."

Turns out it's an elaborate metaphor for a line of shoes designed by Bryant for Foot Locker and Nike. The collection, the ad informs us, is the "grandest grand collection of grand collections." And yes, Richie himself makes a cameo—adding to his own commercial lore in the process.

While the voiceover copy is a bit Old Spicey, the ad blends the winking melodrama of "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" with a healthy heaping of mock pretension, à la Bryan Cranston selling an iPad, and a dash of good old-fashioned Ron Swanson style woodworking.

It has the obligatory sports-stats reference. It's beautifully shot and well paced, and entertaining enough. It makes its point, however circuitously, that the product is like a finely crafted instrument.

A second spot, meanwhile, likens the collection to the invention of a better, stronger lightbulb—complete with a shattering sledgehammer and the ability to make even Judah Friedlander look dapper. Sorry, ladies. It's just another metaphor for sneakers.

Credits below.

Clients: Nike and Foot Locker
Campaign: "Made by Kobe"

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Creative Directors: Don Shelford, Rob Thompson
Copywriter: Adam Noel
Art Director: Jon Kubik
Producer: Shannon Worley
Executive Agency Producer: Matt Hunnicutt
Account Team: Jordan Muse, Heather Morba
Executive Creative Directors: Mark Fitzloff, Susan Hoffman, Joe Staples

Production Company: Traktor Towers
Director: Traktor
Executive Producer: Rani Melendez
Line Producer: Rani Melendez
Director of Photography: Bojan Bozelli

Editing Company: Stitch Editorial
Editor: Andy McGraw
Assistant Editor: Alex Tedesco
Post Producer: Chris Girard
Post Executive Producer: Juliet Batter

Visual Effects Company: The Mill
Visual Effects Executive Producer: LaRue Anderson
Flame Artists: James Allen, Glyn Tebbutt
Visual Effects Producers: Dan Roberts, Antonio Hardy
Titles, Graphics: Justin Morris

Music, Sound Company: Beacon Street Studios
Composers: John Nau, Andrew Feltenstein
Sound Designer: Mike Franklin
Songs: "Out of the Woods" ("Piano"), "The Wunder r3" ("Lightbulb")
Executive Producer: Leslie Dillullo

Mix Company: Beacon Street Studios
Mixer: Mike Franklin
Assistant Engineer: Dewey Thomas
Producer: Caitlin Rocklin

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