Penny Hardaway’s career was cut drastically short by knee problems, but for a short run in the mid-90’s he was huge, starring with Shaq on some good Orlando Magic teams, playing on the Dream Team, and making some all-NBA teams. Nike capitalized on his notoriety with the Air Pennys and a corresponding ad campaign starring a sassy puppet alter-ego, Lil Penny. Chris Rock got the gig to voice the puppet and ran with it, bringing attitude and humor in improvised lines that made the campaign one of the most successful ever for Nike. Complex looks back at the 90’s classic.
The Oral History of Lil Penny
The “Get a Mac” ad campaign featuring John Hodgman as “PC” and Justin Long as “Mac” was an instant success and eventually led to 66 aired spots (out of 323 shot). Steve Jobs played an extremely engaged role in developing the campaign and was relentlessly critical in pushing the creative team to find the perfect storytelling vehicle. He would provide notes such as the blue dress shirt was not the right shade of blue, or he did not like flowers on a woman’s shirt. Campaign gathers the creative team to relive the most intense campaign of their lives, as well as Hodgman and Long to discuss how a brief foray into commercials ended up changing their lives.
An oral history of ‘Get a Mac,’ Part 1