November 7. 2010: Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers stars in a commercial that has nothing to do with basketball or Nike shoes. Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel stars in a commercial that has nothing do to with late night TV. Even more unusual is that Bryant and Kimmel are in the same commercial, the anchor of a marketing effort for Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops videogame, which is scheduled for worldwide release on Nov. 9.
The spot, which broke on Nov. 7 on during NFL games, is part of a campaign for the highly anticipated game that also includes print, POP, in-theatre, Internet and experiential activation. A separate TV campaign touts the videogame's release at midnight at Wal-Mart. Tag: "There's a soldier in all of us."
Kobe is seen in action not on a basketball court but a Call of Duty scene in which he is blasting away at an unseen enemy. Kimmel shows up with a bazooka, and it quickly become obvious that he is outmatched by the weapon. In addition to appearances by Kobe and Kimmel, the spot, features a bevy of everyday people rather than a platoon of highly trained military operatives: A business woman, a man in a suit has to stop shooting when his cell phone rings ("Concierge," he answers), a short-order cook and others, who brandish weapons of various degrees of destruction.
The action is played out to "Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones ("War, children, it's just a shot away"). The extended 90-second spot is filled with inside jokes: Kobe is wearing a Nike T-shirt and carries an assault rifle inscribed with the word "Mamba," a reference to his nickname, "Black Mamba." The limited-edition Chrysler Jeep Wrangler "Call of Duty" vehicle is seen in shots, the same ride that Bryant also drove to the Lakers' season opener on Oct. 26.
This was not Bryant's first foray into the world of videogame commericals. He appeared in a TV spot for Activision's Guitar Hero two years ago alongside Tony Hawk, Alex Rodriguez and Michael Phelps. Last month, he starred in a commercial for 2K Sports' NBA 2K11.
The game's release also has been preceded by a number of product tie-ins, including Gunner Optics sunglasses, officially branded controllers and other goodies manufactured in conjunction with Mad Catz, San Diego, which has exclusive global rights to a range of Call of Duty accessories.
Call of Duty: Black Ops videogame is being released for PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and DS.