LeBron's self-deprecating McDonald's ad

September, 21, 2011
9/21/11
12:57
PM ET
Haberstroh By Tom Haberstroh
ESPN.com
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Whether it's donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity or making surprise appearances at community pick-up games, LeBron James has spent this offseason rehabilitating his tarnished public image. Considering the fallout from the "Decision," James has a long mountain to climb.

And here's his latest attempt to rebuild his relationship with the disgruntled masses: a self-deprecating McDonald's commercial.

From an article at Advertising Age, we learn the details of the planned ad campaign that will feature LeBron alongside Michelle Wie, starting September 26 and run through October.
The spots focus on the one-in-four odds of winning at Monopoly, better odds than previous Monopoly promotions. (Most of the prizes are food, but there are cash prizes, as well as vacations, gift cards for Walmart, among other things.) In Mr. James' spot, the voice-over begins to say what the odds of LeBron James winning seven championships are, only to be interrupted by Mr. James, who says, "Aw, c'mon man." Then the voice-over adds, "Odds of LeBron winning a prize, one in four."

In Ms. Wie's ad, the voice-over says the chances of Ms. Wie hitting her next hole in one today are one in 50,000.

"Even non-golfers know that the odds of hitting a hole in one are long, so sports is a great way to juxtapose long odds with the one-in-four odds in Monopoly," said Douglas Freeland, marketing director and program lead for Monopoly at McDonald's.

With Mr. James, "we thought we'd have a little fun with him, and he was totally fine with teasing and poking a little fun at himself with the notion of the odds of winning seven championships," said Mr. Freeland, referring to Mr. James' grand claims that he'd win seven NBA championships with the Miami Heat, the team he joined after the much-groaned-about "Decision" to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers, which aired on ESPN in July 2010.

Smart move. It's a change of tune from "The LeBrons," his old Nike series of commercials, which was received by many as a narcissistic and self-absorbed attempt to market his brand.

Now, it seems, LeBron has taken a U-turn for humility. Whether people buy into his prepackaged persona remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: this LeBron appears to be a whole lot more likable than the one who infamously took his talents to South Beach.

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