Nike China Tells the Country’s Latest NBA-Bound Star: ‘Don’t Come Back’

Proud work from W+K Shanghai

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Zhou Qi is the latest 7-footer from China to reach the NBA. And while the 20-year-old may be no Yao Ming—at least not yet—Nike China is celebrating his move to the Houston Rockets with a proud 60-second spot that tells Zhou not to return to China.

But in a friendly way.

The spot was made by Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai, which points out that most Chinese players have had very short careers in the NBA before returning to China—Yao, a now-retired Hall of Famer, being the glaring exception.

“While some have said he could be the next Yao Ming, most will acknowledge that Zhou Qi still has a long way to go,” a W+K rep says. “But all of the basketball fans have something in common: They don’t want him to come back. They don’t want him to need to come back. They want him to go and get it. They want him to ‘Want It All.’ The spot essentially wrote itself from there.”

“We wanted to create something that felt truly authentic to Chinese basketball culture,” says W+K creative director Matt Skibiak. “We wanted it to resonate with fans. And that began by finding an insight into how they were actually talking about Zhou Qi. We then also wanted to show people and places that you don’t typically see in basketball commercials. So we casted people from all over China, not just Shanghai and Beijing. And we filmed in locations that didn’t all immediately scream Shanghai.”

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@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.