For Jordan Brand, the celebration of Space Jam's 20th anniversary goes heavy on the nostalgia, as it should considering it is the highest grossing basketball movie ever. But it is also the basis for a fresh campaign starring a new generation of stars with Blake Griffin and Jimmy Butler.
A key part of the campaign is the December 10 re-release of the Air Jordan XI, one of the models that Michael wore in the movie. The XI's popularity has endured with several retro releases, and its use of patent leather remains a distinguishing feature.
A retro edition of the Air Jordan IX, also shown in Space Jam, was released last week. Along with it, Jordan introduced the Space Jam version of the XXXI, which offers a more modern twist on the XI.
But by waiting a week to roll out the latest edition of the XI by itself underscores this shoe's value and significance to the company for the past 20 years. Particularly at a time when rivals such as Under Armour with Stephen Curry and Adidas with James Harden offer appealing alternatives, Jordan Brand can simultaneously hit the feel-good throwback notes associated with Space Jam and forge new ground with Griffin and Butler. Blending the old and the new in a way that doesn't feel contrived can be tricky, but so far Jordan Brand has struck a nice balance.
Of course, there is the luxury of Jordan long having established itself as the gold standard in the realm of basketball shoes. But as we also know, in a field as competitive as athletic apparel, you cannot survive just trying to sit on a lead. Its approach to the Space Jam anniversary shows it still plays to win. One example of this was taking the sound stage at Warner Bros., where the movie was originally shot, and converting it into a basketball court and museum with Space Jam themes to commemorate the occasion.
A good portion of the campaign's imagery has been dedicated to the Monstars, which provided the premise for Griffin and Butler to advance the storyline: