Media and Advertising

Li Ning's "Africa" ad


Li Ning, China's biggest brand of athletic wear, competes head-to-head with Nike and Adidas, and over the past few years it has been placing an emphasis on advertising. It launched the "Anything is Possible" ad campaign last year. The latest ad uses a humorous situation to show off Li Ning shoes and clothing in an exotic locale.

In a short 30 seconds the spot manages to cover a whole host of clichés about exploring darkest Africa. Our hero arrives on the scene dressed in khakis, wearing a pith helmet, and carrying an SLR camera strapped around his neck. He competes with the natives, Kevin Bacon style, in a test of athletic ability. There's a stew pot he briefly believes is meant for him. He's crowned chief and is hoisted into the air on his throne.


And there's an Air Jordan style slo-mo shot.

Apparently the message of the ad ("Play well. Anything is Possible. Li Ning.") is that by playing basketball in Li Ning shoes, you can dribble rings around players wearing sandals. Blog commenters have suggested that perhaps the only thing saving this ad from a fate similar to Nike's "Chamber of Fear" is Li Ning's relative obscurity outside of China.

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