The best Michael Jordan ads of all time

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

In the spring of 2020, the biggest sports story is Michael Jordan with “The Last Dance” documentary giving us the most inside look at Michael Jordan’s life we have ever seen. The documentary is well done, almost a soap opera with a new villain each episode, whether it is Jerry Kraus or the Bad Boy Pistons. There is something captivating about Jordan’s intense pursuit of perfection.

Michael Jordan is a marketer’s dream, including his own Air Jordan brand with Nike or with McDonald’s, Coke, Hanes, and Gatorade. Jordan is still one of the highest-earning athletes with a net worth of $2 Billion.  

To satisfy our thirst for more Jordan, here are the six best Michael Jordan ads we have ever seen 

Air Jordan

Jordan vs. Jordan for Gatorade

Released in 2003, as Jordan’s career was winding down, this is a CGI editor’s dream. This Gatorade ad shows 39-year-old Jordan playing his 23-year-old younger self. With such an amazing production, eyes are fooled into thinking “how did they do this” using Harlem Globetrotter’s Kevin Daley serves as a body double.

Michael Jordan vs. Larry Bird for McDonald's

Shot in 1993 for the Super Bowl, I love this simple game of horse between these two legends. For basketball fans, one line that stuck was “nothing but net.” Whether on the basketball court or throwing paper into the wastebasket at the office, any made shot elicited the “nothing but net” line. 

Jordan vs. Mars Blackman (Spike Lee)

Back in the late 1980s, Nike used the odd combination of Michael Jordan and Spike Lee, using the fictional character, Mars Blackman, from Spike’s “She’s gotta have it” movie. I love these ads. 

"Be like Mike" for Gatorade

A bit of a wholesome jingle, gave the Gatorade brand the chance to show a warmer side of Jordan. 

Original Air Jordan ad

Marketers love creating scarcity, so consumers think they are getting something no one else can get. For an odd rule, the NBA banned the original Air Jordan shoes because the color ratio on the shoe did not include enough of the color white. Nike jumped all over this “banned” shoe idea to create this iconic ad. 


At the height of what you are watching with “The Last Dance” documentary, Nike released an ad that spoke to how many times Michael Jordan has failed, and how that fuels him to succeed. 

I love the copy of this ad. 

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot — and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

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