Derek Jeter is being given a hat tip by a bevy of celebrities and fans in a new Nike-Jordan commercial airing this week in honor of his upcoming retirement.
Among those seen nodding to the baseball legend in the 90-second spot are ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, movie director Spike Lee, Tiger Woods, skateboarding great Eric Koston, Red Sox fans, comedian Billy Crystal, WNBA star Maya Moore, and even His Airness himself.
According to Ad Week
, "Jordan Brand marketers and W+K came up with the creative idea from Jeter’s own routine in the batter’s box. Along with his familiar raised right hand, Jeter tugs at his batting helmet as he faces the pitcher."
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Jeter is in his 20th season, and the five-time World Series champion is currently making $12 million. He signed with Nike's Jordan brand subsidiary in 1999, and also has a deal with watchmaker Movado, according to Bloomberg
Jeter's upcoming retirement is a huge opportunity for everyone from the Fox network to Michael Jordan himself — who remains Nike's highest paid athlete — to turn Jeter's name into a lasting, profitable brand on a par with Jordan's. The "RE2PECT" campaign is among the first of many efforts fans are likely to see as Jeter is added to the canon of sports legends.
"In a sport that is very regional in nature and has been racked by performance-enhancing drug controversy, Jeter has managed to rise above it all, enjoy national acclaim, remain scandal-free, appeal to every demographic and epitomize grace and class — all while playing for a team that many non-New Yorkers view as the 'evil empire,'" Bob Dorfman, executive creative director at Baker Street Advertising in San Francisco, told Bloomberg.
"No baseball player ever has been, or maybe ever will be, as successful at moving product and enhancing brands as Jeter."
Jim Andrews, SVP for content strategy at sponsorship consulting firm IEG, explained that, "Jeter plays an important role for Nike. He stands apart from some of Nike’s other endorsers — such as Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Joe Paterno, and even to some degree, Jordan — in being universally admired and respected, without any taint of scandal or controversy."
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