At age 34, LeBron James has played in the NBA for 16 years. But it’s pretty clear he’s not thinking about giving up.
A new ad from LVMH-owned luggage brand Rimowa’s “Never Still” campaign is echoing the basketball star’s comments to the press earlier this year that he still has “a lot more game to play.”
The spot, from Anomaly Berlin, opens with James in a hotel room, radio chatter from doubters ringing in his ears—and then silence. “It’s been a long road, man,” says James in the first line of his voice-over. “But the road is the greatest teacher there is.” Cue a travel montage, and a heavy dose of pop philosophy about the trials and value of getting out into the world.
By the 40-second mark, a spot that risks in its earlier moments feeling overly broad, predictable, and blocky, suddenly strikes its purpose—and its depth of individuality—when, in a quiet moment, LeBron calls his daughter on the phone.
“Hi Mamaface,” he says.
The latter half breezes by, as the ad emphasizes what else, in James’s words, “really matters,” with nods to his concerns about police brutality, and to the I Promise School he built for underprivileged youth in his hometown, Akron, Ohio. “Where do I go from here?” he wonders, as the ad winds down. “Easy. I go back out there. There’s a lot of road left to travel.”
Overall, it’s a nice balance of showing and telling (despite a perhaps too-purposeful shot of a suitcase in the first few moments)—and, in general, beautifully filmed by director Philippe Tempelman.
Rimowa launched the campaign in 2018 with ads featuring tennis star Roger Federer, designer Virgil Abloh and chef Nobu Matsuhisa. James is part of a second class that includes Kim Jones of Dior Homme and pianist Yuja Wang.
The ads will run on digital and out-of-home channels including in-flight on carriers like Air France and British Airways, as well as in cinemas and airports (Rimowa’s seven key markets are China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the United Kingdom and the US).
A longtime fan of Rimowa’s luggage, James’s interviews suggest he’s also eager to show fans he’s not just an athlete. Or, as Frank Hahn, ecd of Anomaly Berlin, puts it, James “is an extraordinary personality who shapes our world and culture beyond his profession.”
The new ad “shows a contemplative and absorbed Lebron at the end of a disappointing season,” adds Hahn. “But his point of view on travel, sports, family, social issues is inspiring and shows his relentlessness of making a difference in the world.”
Agency – Anomaly Berlin
Executive Creative Director: Frank Hahn
Creative Directors: Sebastian Lyman, Nikolaus Ronacher, Bertrand Fleuret
Executive Producer: Kerli Teo
Producer: Joanna Roman, Eric Kim, Tobias Moellenbach, Jana Schelkle Stills
Producer: Davor Brkan
Account Director: Tania Delamotte
Account Manager: Julia Saumande, Claudia Mulligan
Project Manager: Mona Vogel
Strategist: Anneliese Rapp, Dan Ball
Art Director: Mayara Schmidt, Jan Volpp, Yonca Yilmaz, Konstantin Kopf
Copywriter: Malu Figuereido
Legal: Julia Clark, Therese Spillane, Grant Thompson
Film – BWGTBLD Berlin
Director: Philippe Tempelman
DOP: Patrick Scola
Editor: Sam Ostrove @ Cabin Edit
Executive Producer: Philipp Ramhofer
Producer: Juliane Geusendam
Visual Effects: Swiss International AB
Photography – Matt Jones
Photographer: Matt Jones
Agent: Jillian Johnson, John Moore @ Walter Schupfer Management
Producer: Jay Rodan @ Sheriff Production
Retouching: Velem LA, 100Berlin Creative Retouching