Tuesday March 31st, 2015

In another example of "Nike can do whatever it wants," the latest Chinese marketing campaign for Kobe Bryant's "Kobe X" shoe is pure craziness.

Agency Wieden & Kennedy turned an art space in Shanghai that was originally constructed as a slaughterhouse into a labyrinth with the entrance located within the mouth of a giant snake. Amateur basketball players were invited to test their basketball skills by entering through said snake mouth and, apparently, discovering what it's like to be Kobe Bryant.

This whole thing was called the "Deadly Quickness Temple" and is the third of a three-part campaign for the Kobe X shoes. The first part in early February came with billboards and banners, and was followed by a mobile game, Kobe X Deadly Quickness Test, modeled after tests the U.S. military uses to train and select pilots.

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The temple itself was by far the craziest part, as Creativity-Online.com explains.

A mysterious voice from hidden speakers guided the player through the experience to a chamber with a throne and a pair of Kobe X shoes. The voice of Bryant himself then challenged them to prove themselves in a series of five tests, each designed to highlight skills and moves needed in high-pressure basketball games. If they passed all five, they were rewarded at the end, but all participants were able to scan a QR code at the end to receive a sharable video of their performance.

About 650 players entered the temple, and Wieden & Kenedy say the campaign reached more than 3.2 million people through social media posts.

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Even for a guy who once randomly emailed Anna Wintour to talk about leadership, this is pretty wild by Kobe's standards.

- Mike Fiammetta 

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