Michael Jordan’s “Be Like Mike” Commercial Debuted 25 Years Ago Today

August 8th, 2016 by / 0

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When Gatorade‘s “Be Like Mike” commercial debuted on August 8, 1991, it looked like an effortless mix of down-home relatability and superhero style. But the clip didn’t come about easily. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, ad executive Bernie Pitzel scrubbed the original version – a rote collage of Michael Jordan dunk highlights – just before debut. Gatorade gave Pitzel three days to come up with a final edition, which was supposed to employ the kid-looking-up-to-Jordan concept and Disney’s song “I Wanna Be Like You” from The Jungle Book as the soundtrack. Little snag – the $350,000 song rental was above budget. So Pitzel handed his own lyrics over to jingle writers Ira Antelis and Steve Shafer. They dreamed up the aspirational music, the new footage was cut in, and a commercial classic was born. Watch the original spot below and check out the full story behind the iconic clip here.

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