I didn’t want to be fighting every day. I didn’t want to be selling drugs. I didn’t want to do what everybody was doing in the hood. I wanted to be different. And that’s what Skateboarding gave me. ~Stevie Williams
Allen Iverson — Father, Aspiring Fisherman, Basketball Star. Carolina Kluft — Heptathlete, Daughter, Olympic Champion. 50 Cent — Dad, Survivor, Rap Superstar. Miri Ben-Ari — Former Soldier, Hip Hop Head, World-renown Violinist.
Those are a few of the audio-visual portraits found at Reebok’s I Am What I Am web site. In each case, we discover something different about the spokesperson than what we may now believe. And after Michael Jordan never really speaking out, never taking a stand against child labor, nor expressly looking to be a role model (as he sold $150/pair basketball shoes to low-income inner-city kids), this campaign by Reebok is very refreshing.
It is an interesting approach to selling shoes, which typically serve more as fashion statements than honest-to-goodness athletic shoes. It works for me. Yet then again, maybe I’m not exactly a member of this Reebok campaign’s target audience. After all, Nike remains firmly entrenched as #1.
Still, The Distillery applauds Reebok for a very socially responsible approach to selling shoes and providing sometimes unexpected role models. I doubt they would sponsor Charles Barkley, even if there was some truth in his [in]famous statement about not being a role model. But maybe, just maybe, Reebok has decided it’s not always about making as much money as possible.
Are we truly looking at corporate social responsibility? Believe it or not, so it seems. More evidence is found at Reebok’s Human Rights Program. In fact, The Distillery has previously reviewed the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as presented by Reebok. It appears Reebok is indeed the real deal.
When you finish looking through the video portraits (downloadable to iPods and PSPs), be certain to then look at the Behind The Grind video, a casual and light-hearted look into what makes each spokesperson the person they are, and what they believe. The Distillery very much likes and admires this campaign. In fact, this is one advertisement that parents might like to sit down and watch with their kids. Each may walk away a little more enlightened about some unique individuals, life itself, and life’s choices.
Thanks, Reebok. I promise my next pair of sneakers will be Reeboks. I think I owe you one.