11/30/06 - spike lee in 1987

In today's excerpt - Spike Lee's first commercially-released movie She's Gotta Have It, which was pieced together on a $23,000 budget, becomes a minor and unexpected hit. And a line from the movie, Mars Blackmon's 'please baby please baby baby baby please', is becoming a catch-phrase:

"Then Nike called, asking Spike to work on commercials to star a promising young basketball talent named Michael Jordan. ...

"Nike was then an upstart company, looking to overtake Adidas in the sneaker market. Adidas was the brand eulogized by Run DMC ... and Nike needed a figurehead to capture the imagination of the urban black market. ... Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight recollects, 'We were first introduced to Spike Lee by Michael Jordan. He'd just seen She's Gotta Have It and he kept going around saying 'Please baby please baby baby baby please.' I said, 'What the hell is that from?' And he talked about this movie and told the Weiden Kennedy [advertising] people about Spike. ...

"The Spike 'n Mike 'It's gotta be the shoes' ads not only exposed Spike Lee to an audience that wouldn't have dreamed of lining up to see She's Gotta Have It; they also persuaded a whole generation that Nike Air Jordan sneakers were an accessory they couldn't live without. Nike quickly became the biggest sporting brand in the world, and Phil Knight would never forget the contribution made by Spike Lee: 'I think that the commercials had his fingerprints all over them. Everyone remembers what a great success the Jordan line has been—perhaps the biggest success in the history of the sporting-goods business. It continues to sell at a very high level. But in that year before the Spike and Mike adverts, the sales of Air Jordans actually went down. It was those advertisements that really revived the brand.' "


Kaleem Aftab


Spike Lee: That's My Story and I'm Sticking to It


W.W. Norton & Company


Copyright 2006, 2005, by Kaleem Aftab


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