Who are the Ad Wizards?

Be Like Mike… Just for a second | February 12, 2010

Did you see Michael Jordan in this commercial for his signature shoes? No? Try pausing it between the :53 and :54 marks. It’s just a blur, but it’s his Airness.

The message could be interpreted in a few ways…

  1. With the right shoes, you can harness the power of Michael Jordan
  2. The newest Jordans allow even a superstar like Dwyane Wade to improve his game.
  3. With these kicks you can be temporarily possessed by the greatest basketball player of all time.

Hyperbolic messages aside, why would the Jordan brand and their ad agency, Wieden+Kennedy, choose to send it subliminally? Advertisers are constantly looking for ways to engage consumers who have “seen it all” and “heard it all” before. In this day of DVRs and YouTube, Wieden+Kennedy knows they can get their audience thinking and moving with just a flash of red.

The FCC’s stance on subliminal message states, “the broadcast of subliminal material is inconsistent with a station’s obligation to serve the public interest because it is designed to be deceptive.” Also the message must be meant to be perceived on a subconscious level only. As far as the FCC is concerned, since Jordan’s unmistakable red Bulls jersey can be perceived by the naked eye, if only for a moment, this commercial doesn’t contain any subliminal messages.


  1. Awesome assesment, man. MJ has become an icon. Tell someone that he wears a certain shoe when he plays, and there’s no question that sales are going to skyrocket, because who doesn’t want to be like Mike? And as far as the station’s “obligation to serve public interest”? Please. Follow the money. You think they care more about our well-being, or what we’re going to spend money on tomorrow morning?

    Comment by El Amante — February 14, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

  2. I wonder how long before Jordan isn’t considered the best player anymore, or if that will even happen?

    We’re getting to a point where there are children growing up who didn’t get to see him at his best. His stint with the Wizards does not count. But, the reality is that MJ is an icon, especially for so many people these days.

    He’s the epitome of greatness.

    Comment by Susan — February 16, 2010 @ 3:15 am

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