The return to Cleveland by LeBron James marked a significant increase in awareness, celebrity and, of course, endorsement. With that in mind, a new Nike campaign will highlight James’ LeBron 12 basketball shoe by featuring a dozen northeast Ohioans identified by King James and the shoe company as local “heroes.”
Called the #iDYOURHERO initiative, Nike produced videos and designed shoes for each of the 12 honorees that will be released over the next 12 days through a targeted digital ad buy, on social media, and posted on Nike’s website. A sample of James and Nike’s “heroes” include the former’s high school basketball coach Dru Joyce, chef Jonathon Sawyer (The Greenhouse Tavern in downtown Cleveland), and Larry Gray, a spokesman for the Cleveland Fire Department.
All of the honorees either has a direct tie to James or the LeBron James Family Foundation, or was discovered by Nike while the company was doing research for its TV commercial which featured James that aired back in October. Each individual is active within the northeastern Ohio community or has overcome personal odds to succeed in the region. “These 12 people and this campaign is all in celebration of the Cleveland community, that’s what it’s all about,” Lisa Beachy, spokesperson for Nike, said.
James will wear one of the Nike-designed shoes in honor of one of the local heroes during an upcoming Cavaliers game. The national campaign encourages people to design their own LeBron 12 shoe for one of their heroes and share their story via social media. Angela Dudek, 32, of Lakewood, is the director of public relations and fundraising for the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland. Contacted by Nike, based on her social media posts, she was filmed attending the Cavaliers’ season opener and then taped her interview for the campaign on Halloween.
“I had an interview with their entire marketing team, which was kind of intimidating,” Dudek said. “I’m excited to see it, excited to see the outcome of really cool, important campaign.” “I’m from Tallmadge, which is sort of Akron, and he’s from Akron, I think all of it caught their eye.”
Below are the rest of the honorees that will have shoes made for them:
• Kara Cauffield, of Cuyahoga Falls, an Akron Public Schools teacher who serves on a LeBron James Family Foundation education advisory board.
• Aleah Duncan, of Akron, a sophomore at Akron Buchtel who is an “ambassador” in the James Foundation’s program for older youths.
• Dr. Benson Bonyo, an Akron-area physician who runs a charity called Bonyo’s Kenya Mission, which provides medical care in the African nation of Kenya. The James Foundation is a partner of the Kenya Mission.
• Victoria Young, of Akron, a part-time Akron Public Schools employee whose lawn received a makeover over the summer as part of a James Foundation service project.
• Brandi Davis, an elementary school principal for Akron Public Schools and a James Foundation education advisory board member.
• Kinyatta Edgerson, of Cleveland, a past Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year winner and Hiram College student.
• Richard Starr, director for the King Kennedy Boys & Girls Club in Cleveland.
• Billy Hundt, of Westlake, a military veteran and firefighter for the City of Cleveland.
SOURCE: Sports Business Daily