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post #24 of (permalink) Old 02-25-2004, 05:40 PM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

from TennisWeek

Agassi Is A Hit In His Red Sox Debut

Photo By Susan Mullane By Richard Pagliaro
The Red Sox struck out in the A-Rod sweepstakes, but have succeeded in getting an even bigger star to wear a Boston uniform — Andre Agassi. You can see the the eight-time Grand Slam champion show his skills on the baseball field when Agassi, clad in the home white Red Sox uniform, wearing a pair of batting gloves and looking completely comfortable in the batter's box, slaps a sharp single to left field tomorrow night.

It's not a spring training game — it's the latest Nike commercial campaign that features well-known champions competing in different sports. If the sight of Agassi, whose quick hands and rapid racquet-head speed would make him an ideal middle infielder, isn't intriguing enough, consider the prospect of recently-signed Nike endorser Serena Williams playing beach volleyball, another striking scene in the commercial.

In addition to Agassi and Serena, Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong appears as a boxer, Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson is a bowler, Olympic sprinter Marion Jones flies through the air as a gymnast NFL stars Michael Vick and Brian Urlacher are hockey teammates.

Created by Portland, Oregon-based ad agency Wieden & Kennedy, the concept of commercials are "What If?" and are based on the theme that champions share a common will to win that transcends individual sport. Wieden & Kennedy was the same agency that created the famed "Bo Knows..." commercial campaign that showed two-sport standout Bo Jackson interacting with a variety of Nike athletes including an incredulous John McEnroe who uttered the phrase: "Bo knows tennis?"

"The basic premise for 'What If?' is what they all have in common other than hard training and dedication," Nike U.S. advertising director Nancy Monsarrat told The New York Times' Stuart Elliott. "It's the will to win. We asked how we can make that a bigger story and we can make it a bigger story when we show it in multiple ways. What if Tiger Woods' father had handed him a baseball bat (rather than a golf club) or when Lance Armstrong was three years old his mother handed him a pair of boxing gloves instead of a bike."

Agassi, who once told Tennis Week he did not play organized baseball growing up, actually did all his own hitting in the commercial, according to Nike. Red Sox player Jason Varitek appears with Agassi to add authenticity to the ad. There was one a bit of movie magic added to Agassi's commercial — it was actually shot in Dodger Stadium rather than Boston's Fenway Park with Fenway's famed Green Monster added later with special effects.

The commercial campaign kicks off Wednesday night and will be shown hourly starting during the 8 p.m. time slot on cable channels ESPN, MTV, VH1, UPN and Fox. According to the New York Times, the complete 90-second version of the commercial will air through Saturday when the condensed 15 and 30-second commercial versions will begin. The commercials are scheduled to run for six weeks on television and on the Nike web site starting tomorrow.
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