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From the 9th Annual Shorty Awards

Jordan Brand "Space Jam: Defy"

Winner in Large Media Buying Strategy

Audience Honor in Large Media Buying Strategy


In 2016, Jordan Brand launched its largest campaign of the year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Space Jam, the iconic live-action/animated sports comedy starring NBA superstar Michael Jordan. The campaign centered on "Defy," a short animated sequel to the original film starring NBA athletes Blake Griffin and Jimmy Butler.

Of course, it would take much more than a single 90-second film to celebrate the cultural behemoth that was Space Jam. To bring the effort to life, Jordan enlisted the help of the marketing agency Laundry Service to launch an immersive social media campaign over the month leading up to the "Defy" short film's online debut. Leveraging dozens of assets across both physical and digital channels, the social campaign told the story of the Monstars, the animated villains of the original film, and their return to earth.

Our goal: drive maximum awareness among Jordan fans, leverage paid media and retargeting to ensure that the most engaged users were reached by as much campaign content as possible, and support the launch of the special edition Air Jordan XXXI and Air Jordan XI.

Strategy and Execution

To support the launch of the 'Space Jam' Air Jordan XXXI and XI, we used social media to build an immersive storyline leveraging unique content across Jordan Brand channels. During the month-long campaign, we followed the Monstars as they returned to earth, "hacking" into Jordan Brand's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat channels, posting digitally distorted videos, stylish posters, and ominous images of heavily damaged basketball courts.

We leveraged paid media and retargeting to create a storytelling funnel that helped to ensure that the most engaged users were reached by all hero assets, concluding with product focused content close to and after the launch. Our story took place in three phases: "Warning," "Comply," and "Defy."

The "Warning" phase of the campaign began with a cryptic tweet on the eve of the 20th anniversary of Space Jam, which alluded to the return of the classic cartoon villains. On the anniversary, the Monstars took over Jordan's social profiles, with video content declaring their return, updated logos, cover photos and name changes. The cultural relevance of the content led to rampant sharing and a mini-viral moment, generating 32.5K shares, and 2.01M video views in just 24 hours. During the hack, The Monstars reached out to Jordan Brand followers, athletes, and the media with propaganda and clips from the movie.

To bring the story into the real world, we experimented with Snapchat's new Snap to Unlock ad product, making Jordan Brand one of the first social marketers to use the new format. This let users scan snapcodes on OOH displays and in-store to unlock unique filters which rotated throughout the three phases of the campaign.

The "Comply" phase of the campaign allowed Jordan to regain some control, while continuing to bring users into a world dominated by the Monstars. On Facebook, Jordan and Laundry Service immersed those following the storyline even further with a Canvas Unit built to look and feel like a newspaper. Delivering blow-by-blow reports of the Monstars' latest worldwide rampage, the Canvas was opened 92.9K times, with users averaging 33 seconds spent within the unit after opening.

The campaign climaxed on 12/2 with the launch of "Defy," the official brand spot starring Jordan Athletes Blake Griffin and Jimmy Butler. The spot received over 15 million video views on Jordan channels. To drive user engagement, Jordan launched its first Snapchat lens on 12/2, allowing users to transform themselves into a Monstar. The lens was used nearly 2.5 million times.


The campaign surpassed all expectations, generating 201.3 million total impressions and 25 million video views. Our multi-platform storytelling proved to be the perfect way to get Jordan fans involved, helping us to rack up 7.8 million total engagements.

The campaign also proved to be hugely effective in driving awareness and purchase consideration for the AJ XXXI and AJ XI. Campaign content generated 8.01 million total social impressions for the AJ XXXI and 14.52 million total social impressions for the AJ XI, which sold out in just minutes after release.

Jordan Brand - Space Jam "Defy" Total Social Results:

Total Impressions: 201.3 Million
Total Engagements: 7.8 Million
Total Video Views: 25 Million
Total Post Shares: 112,000

Snapchat Scan to Unlock:

Unlocks: 9,800
Filter Uses: 11,700
Filter Impressions: 632,500

Facebook Canvas:

Canvas Opens: 92,900
33 Second average time spent

Snapchat Lens:

Total Uses: 2.4 Million
Total Impressions: 55 Million

"Defy" Film Launch:

Video Views: 15 Million (2nd most-viewed Jordan spot on owned channels)


Video for Jordan Brand "Space Jam: Defy"

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Laundry Service, Wieden+Kennedy, Los York, Taylor, R/GA, Jordan Brand