Nike's "Just do it" wih Lebron James

The Impact of Lebron James: Nike’s Successful Animation Campaigns

A fast and new review on the the effect of animation in the Nike commercial campaigns success of Lebron James and Nike’s “Just Do It” Campaign.

Animation movies Mickhael Jordan Space Jam, vesuse Lebron James Space Jam Lagacy, official posters in one shot


Animation has become an increasingly popular and effective tool in commercial campaigns, captivating audiences with its creativity and ability to deliver compelling messages. One notable success story in this regard is the partnership between Nike and basketball superstar Lebron James in their iconic “Just Do It” campaign. This article explores the impact of animation in commercial promotions, analyzes the relationship between Nike and Space Jam animation, and compares the two Space Jam movies, considering their use of animation and brand promotion.

The Power of Animation in creating Invincible Brand Commercial Campaigns

Animation has revolutionized the advertising industry, offering a unique and engaging way to communicate with audiences. Unlike traditional live-action advertisements, animation allows for limitless creativity, enabling brands to create unforgettable and imaginative worlds. It appeals to a broad demographic, from children to adults, making it an ideal choice for brand promotion.

Animation also provides brands with the flexibility to convey complex messages in a simple and visually appealing manner. The use of colorful characters, emotive expressions, and fantastical scenarios captures the attention of viewers, leaving a lasting impression on their minds.

Lebron James in the circle of the Space Jam animation characters

Lebron James and Nike’s “Just Do It” Campaign

When it comes to effective brand promotion through animation, Nike’s collaboration with basketball icon Lebron James stands out as a prime example. Lebron James, an NBA superstar known for his athletic prowess and winning mentality, became the face of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign in a series of animated commercials.

The use of animation in the “Just Do It” campaign was a masterstroke, as it allowed Nike to highlight Lebron’s achievements and charisma while also appealing to a wider audience. The animated commercials showcased Lebron’s journey from a young, aspiring basketball player to a renowned professional athlete. By employing animation, Nike seamlessly blended elements of storytelling, inspiration, and brand association, making the commercials emotionally resonant and memorable.

The Nike and Space Jam Animation Connection

Michael Jordan and Lebron James in an image with space Jam characters

The relationship between Nike and Space Jam animation dates back to the early ’90s when the Air Jordan 7s were released in 1991. These sneakers were inspired by Michael Jordan’s appearance in the live-action/animated movie “Space Jam,” which brought together iconic Looney Tunes characters and basketball legends.

It’s not LeBron James and the Tune Squad. It’s Nike and Warner Bros.

premiere of Warner Bros "Space Jam: A New Legacy" at Regal LA Live on July 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JULY 12: Big Freedia, shoe detail, attends the premiere of Warner Bros “Space Jam: A New Legacy” at Regal LA Live on July 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

“Space Jam” was a groundbreaking film that combined live-action with animation, creating a novel cinematic experience. Michael Jordan’s association with the Looney Tunes characters, particularly Bugs Bunny, became an iconic marketing strategy for Nike, as it capitalized on the movie’s massive popularity to promote Air Jordan sneakers. The success of this collaboration laid the foundation for future partnerships between Nike and animated media.

Nike air Max and a bag pack with space Jam Merchandiz

Comparison: “Space Jam” vs. “Space Jam: A New Legacy”

The 1996 film “Space Jam” featuring Michael Jordan and the 2021 release “Space Jam: A New Legacy” starring Lebron James share the common theme of blending live-action and animation. Let’s compare the two movies based on their use of animation and brand promotion:

Merchandising T-shirt with a cartoon Lebron James back print
  1. Animation Quality: “Space Jam” utilized traditional hand-drawn animation, which was cutting-edge at the time. In contrast, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” employed state-of-the-art computer-generated animation, resulting in visually stunning and immersive scenes. The advancements in animation technology allowed for greater creativity and realism, captivating audiences in new and exciting ways.
  2. Brand Promotion: Both movies heavily featured Nike products, particularly their signature basketball sneakers. While “Space Jam” introduced Air Jordan sneakers to a global audience, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” continued the tradition by showcasing Lebron James wearing the latest Nike basketball shoes. The seamless integration of Nike products in both films contributed to brand exposure and reinforced Nike’s association with basketball legends.
  3. Lebron James vs. Michael Jordan: “Space Jam” centered around Michael Jordan, an already established global superstar during the ’90s. The film’s success further solidified Jordan’s status as a cultural icon and propelled Nike’s brand image. In “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” Lebron James, another basketball icon, took the lead, appealing to a younger generation of fans. The movie’s success reinforced Lebron’s influence and reaffirmed Nike’s ability to collaborate with modern-day sports legends.


In conclusion, animation has become a powerful and indispensable tool in modern commercial campaigns. Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign featuring Lebron James stands as a shining example of how animation can effectively promote a brand, inspire audiences, and leave a lasting impact.

The connection between Nike and animation dates back to the early ’90s when the Air Jordan 7s were released alongside the “Space Jam” movie. This collaboration laid the groundwork for future partnerships, including the recent “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” which continued to showcase Nike’s products while introducing Lebron James as the new face of the franchise.

The success of these campaigns demonstrates that animation, combined with influential sports figures like Lebron James, can propel brand promotion to new heights, resonating with audiences and establishing a lasting emotional connection with consumers worldwide. With the continuous advancement of animation technology, we can expect even more innovative and captivating campaigns in the future.

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