Tulare County's own London featured in Nike ad

Nike filming a scene for a new commercial in London, Calif. Photo courtesy of Tulare County Film Commission.Nike filming a scene for a new commercial in London, Calif. Photo courtesy of Tulare County Film Commission.With the eyes of the world on London and the Olympic Games this week, the Central Valley's own London is getting some airtime in Nike's new "ambush" advertising effort.

The unincorporated Tulare County town of London (population 1,869) — along with other Londons across the world in places such as Nigeria, Jamaica and Connecticut — will be featured in an international Nike ad campaign that references the 2012 Olympic Games officially kicking off Friday.

The campaign includes a 1-minute video featuring glimpses of athletes in Londons around the word, along with a shorter video filmed exclusively in London, Calif., located about 10 miles southeast of Kingsburg.

“Can you imagine London, Tulare County, being marketed by arguably the most famous clothing company in the world?” said Eric Coyne, the Tulare County film commisioner.

The campaign's slogan is “Find Your Greatness.”

Three scenes in the commercial were filmed in London — a shot with a green road sign with kids skateboarding, more of the kids skateboarding in front of a house and a man with “LONDON” tattooed across his back in Old English lettering.

The 17-second commercial features skateboarders at a local residence.

“We were excited to showcase London, especially when it’s Nike and when you consider the scope of this commercial,” Coyne said.

The scenes were filmed on June 11. Coyne and everyone else involved was sworn to secrecy until the campaign was launched.

The commercial was directed by Lance Acord, who Coyne refers to as the “Spielberg of commercials.” He recently directed the Super Bowl commercial with the kid dressed as Darth Vader.

“When they introduced me to Lance Acord, I was like, ‘You’re kidding me right?’” Coyne said. 

Coyne said he was not privy to the economic impact of the shoot, but he confirmed the apparel giant purchased a filming permit and paid a location fee to the homeowner, as well as bunked in local hotels and ate in local restaurants.

Coyne had less than two days to get the Nike crew permitted and have the street closed off.

It took a 43-man camera crew to shoot the 17-second skateboard commerical.

The campaign has sparked some controversy within the advertising community. Nike has elected not to be an official sponsor of the Olympic Games and the ad is being viewed as a form of "ambush" marketing.

Mark J. Miller of marketing website brandchannel.com indicates there will likely not be any legal ramifications.

“We'll bet they get away with it because, well, it's Nike,” Miller wrote.