Hey, how’d you like to be in a commercial with LeBron James?
Just one catch: He’s basically gonna say you’re full of you-know-what — for the whole world to see.
Believe it or not, someone signed up for that. More than one person, actually.
Nate Bourdeau (@NateBourdeau4) and Claudia "Norvina" Soare (@Norvina1) are the unseen costars of LeBron’s new Kia commercials, in which he reads their skeptical tweets and then shows the world that he really does drive a Kia.
Who knew being sarcastic on social media could make you famous?
Nate’s tweet — "There’s a thousand percent chance that there’s a zero percent chance that LeBron drives a Kia" — is the basis for the "1,000%" commercial in which LeBron mathematically disproves it.
Norvina’s tweet — "LeBron drives a Kia like I fly a spaceship" — is the basis for the "Spaceship" commercial in which LeBron dons an astronaut suit and takes off in his Kia, to rendezvous with her in space.
Cute stuff from David&Goliath, the agency that came up with the concept. But I wondered, how did Nate and Norvina feel to get blown up like that on TV?
Thanks to LeBron, they weren’t hard to find. Now, after a few weeks of fame, I wanted to know how they felt.
As people, they couldn’t be more different.
Nate is a soccer player from upstate New York who captained a Sweet 16 team at Rutgers and won the United Soccer League championship with the Rochester Rhinos last season. He also owns and manages Bourdeau’s Skill School in Baldwinsville, where he develops young players. He’s a big fan of sports, if not of LeBron.
"I haven’t always been the biggest fan but he has grown on me over the years," Nate said in an email.
Norvina lives in Los Angeles and is in the beauty business, and kinda famous on social media before the LeBron ad — she’s the president of Anastasia Beverly Hills, and her Instagram account has almost a million followers. She’s not really into sports — "I don’t understand them and they don’t hold my attention," she said in an email — but her boyfriend is, and the chance to make him jealous was just too good to pass up.
"I thought it would be amazing to be in a commercial with LeBron as my boyfriend is a huge basketball fan and often as a joke, dismisses my beauty page on Instagram as a hobby," she said. "Clearly he’s being sarcastic and joking, but I thought this was the ultimate way to get him back."
Both Nate and Norvina said when the agency contacted them about using their tweets in a commercial, they initially ignored it. "I figured it was just spam or a joke so I really didn’t think much of it," Nate said.
Nate won the USL championship with the Rochester Rhinos last season.
But after some hounding, they agreed to it. Didn’t get paid anything, or an autograph from LeBron, or a new Kia. But that didn’t matter. After all, Norvina pointed out, "perhaps my tweet inspired the art direction for this particular commercial!"
So what about the concept? Does it burn at all to get called out by LeBron like that?
Nope. Neither Nate nor Norvina has any regrets.
"None at all. The fact that he dragged me on TV made my year," Norvina said, pointing out that "the exposure is amazing."
And more importantly, "I am able to brag to my boyfriend about LeBron talking to me during the All-Star Game, which is priceless."
Nate agreed. "It is cool to be able to show my kids one day that I was in a commercial with arguably the greatest athlete of our generation."
So what did everyone you know and everyone you don’t know think? Any weirdness?
"I would have to say the weirdest or most interesting reaction I got from the commercial was having a girl I haven’t spoken to since junior year of high school try and reach out to me," Nate said.
"I have some friends that try to get under my skin by saying ‘LeBron dissed you on national TV!’ but I know it’s all in good fun," he added.
I guess the most important question, though, is did LeBron convince you he really drives a Kia?
Nate said he’s "still a little skeptical," while Norvina said "if anything, LeBron convinced me that he’s serious about his business and his endorsements."
Sounds like everyone’s a winner: The ad agency, which successfully tapped into social media and didn’t have to pay anyone; LeBron, who successfully defended his sponsor; Nate and Norvina, who got the great exposure; me, who got the story from a soccer player and an Instagram beauty who gives YouTube tutorials on "Plum Sparkle Eye Makeup;" and my wife, who probably will follow Norvina on IG and get some good tips.
Maybe I’ll do a follow-up during the NBA playoffs and ask her to tweet some style tips to LeBron. If she can get him to start using brow products, her boyfriend might just die.
By the way, Norvina, which is hotter, LeBron’s Kia or your spaceship?
"My spaceship, because it’s candy coated in glitter," she said.