Advertising legend Jimmy Smith shared a story on the podcast about Nike passing on the Space Jam movie and how it applies to risk taking.

Nike had run a Space Jam commercial during the Super Bowl that had blown up.

Warner Brothers went to Phil Knight pitching a full length movie, which he turned down.

The following year, Nike ran another Space Jam Super Bowl commercial, this time 90 seconds long- another massive hit.

Warner Brothers pitched the full feature movie to Nike once again.

Knight declined again saying…

“No, we just make shoes.”

Warner Brothers proceeded with the movie anyway, without Nike on board. The movie grossed over $280 million at the box office and $3.5 billion in merchandising.

At the time, Nike was a $6 billion company.

Jimmy then told this same story to a client he was pitching and they said,

“When you first told that story, I thought how stupid can Nike be not to see that, but the moment you brought in my product into the story — oh no we’re just a little company.”

That’s the the type of client Jimmy has learned to avoid.

Catch the full conversation with Jimmy Smith here

Jimmy Smith, Founder and CEO of Amusement Park Entertainment, has earned countless awards for his work as a Writer and Creative Director for Nike at Wieden + Kennedy, Executive Creative Director at BBDO and most recently, Gatorade’s Group Creative Director at TBWAChiatDay LA.