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Kobe's "Jumping" Ads: One Very Successful Sports Campaign

If you're living under a rock and you didn't realize it, Nike has been taking a page out of those classic "Did he really do that?" Powerade spots and has created quite a stir with Kobe Bryant.

After stopping a BBQ this weekend to watch it again--thanks Amanda Schlosser!--I'm calling these spots the most successful sports ad campaign going right now. How do I know? Just look at YouTube. There's millions of hits on the Kobe jumps.

First, let's give you a blast from the past with the Powerade spots. You might recall the spots.

Andy Roddick pounding a ball into the court.

And LeBron James draining full court jumpers.

Well, Nike's current spots--advertising Nike's new Hyperdunk--are getting even more buzz. First, Nike showed Kobe jumping over an Aston Martin (this actually aired on television)

Then, they did a viral spot where Kobe is joined by the Jackass guys as he jumps over a pool of snakes.

I can't tell you how many people have asked if either of these are real. Here's Kobe's response when asked by local television reporter John Ireland about the snakes:

John: “And the dunk was real. You actually jumped over the pool.”

Kobe: “I did jump over the pool. I had a little assistance, maybe.”

John: “With Hollywood?”

Kobe: “From the Hyperdunks.”

Does the buzz around the ads mean more sales for the Hyperdunks (they only mention the name and show the shoes once in each spot)? I can't guarantee it. What I can guarantee is that it has passed the first rule of advertising--that people actually realize who is endorsing what.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com