By Barry Janoff
April 19, 2016: While 16 NBA teams are seeking to win the 2015-16 championship, a bevy of NBA partners and other companies are seeking to earn a marketing title on Madison Avenue.
Kia, Gatorade, Verizon, Kaiser Permanente, Tissot, adidas, Nike, Anheuser-Busch and Diageo are among the companies with post-season activations, reaching fans and consumers via ESPN, TNT and NBA TV; as well as through Internet, social media, POP and sweepstakes.
Stephen Curry of the defending NBA world champion Golden State Warriors has become the lead player in several campaigns, including a PSA, "The Mentorship," with President Barack Obama, in addition to efforts that include Kaiser Permanente, Brita and roles for Tissot and the NBA's playoff and League Pass.
His presence heightens the fact that LeBron James, who has appeared in numerous campaigns during the season, has again elected to have his on-air marketing presence kept to a minimum during the playoffs, with little to show beyond the Kia K900 spots that broke earlier this season.
Kaiser Permanente recently debuted a spot featuring Curry and wife Ayesha, “Practice,” in which they offer advice to help viewers break bad habits and profess that “offense is the best defense” when it comes to the overall well-being of body, mind and spirit.
The spot is part of a larger effort, anchored by a dedicated Web site, Ask Coach Curry, with more than two dozen short videos in which the Currys answer questions relating to life, love and health, with such topics as smart phones, BFFs, losing, team spirit and practice.
Curry goes solo in a commercial from Brita ("Drink Amazing"), but is part of a group effort in generic spots from Tissot ("This Is Your Time") and the NBA's umbrella "This Is Why We Play" playoff push ("Every Second Counts."
In addition, new shoes from Curry's signature line have been released by Under Armour, which is supporting by airing a series of three-second ads with Curry every time he makes a three-point shot.
Tissot, which also includes Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs) as an endorser, is hosting a sweepstakes offering a trip to the 2016 NBA Finals (Details here.)
A new spot, "Play Cool" from Gatorade to support its Frost line, stars Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat and Hall of Famer George Gervin, with the latter passing ice basketballs to the former and Wade sinking shot after shot as they both riff on what is cool: A penguin in a tank top, a convertible with a snow plow, streaker at a hockey game, a finger roll in February, a Yeti eating frozen spaghetti.
Support includes reactive ESPN.com digital banners, which feature special NBA team messages, based on fans’ ESPN.com profiles.
Verizon has unveiled "Data Dunk" with Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, supporting a promo in which Verizon customers select six NBA players and then "score free data" when a player on their "Data Dunk" team dunks during a playoff game. (Details here.)
Kia this week launched the latest in a series of spots with Blake Griffin, "Chess," in which the Los Angeles Clippers forward explains how, to him, basketball is like a game of chess.
Kia is also hosting a sweepstakes via @NBA (Twitter and Instagram) encouraging fans to predict winners of certain games and series for a chance at NBA Finals tickets and NBAStore.com gift cards.
Anheuser-Busch has launched the Bud Light Playoffs Play of the Day, a highlight series running throughout the playoffs on NBA.com and Anheuser-Busch digital and social channels including Facebook, Twitter, IG, YouTube and Snapchat.
Nike continues to run its farewell to Kobe Bryant spot, "The Conductor," and has released new shoes for such endorsers as James, Irving and Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder).
Creative with Bryant also continues to run from Apple TV ("Father Time") and 2K (NBA 2K17 "Legend").
Likewise, adidas unveiled playoff-themed creative in each participating market, “Rep Hard,” including brand endorsers Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) and James Harden (Houston Rockets), with and print, digital, POP and new shoe releases.
PepsiCo brands Ruffles and Mountain Dew are giving people an opportunity to win tickets and NBA merchandise during a post-season sweepstakes. (Details here.)
Dr. Scholl’s “Make Your Move to The Finals” sweepstakes is running throughout the Playoffs, allowing fans to select their favorite ‘move’ from a number of historical postseason highlight clips – featuring some of the game’s greatest. The winner will receive a trip to the 2016 NBA Finals. (Details here.)
Movie studios are airing cross-promotional spots throughout the post-season, including Sony (Angry Birds), MGM (Barber Shop: Next Cut) and Universal Studios (The Secret Life of Pets) during the first round; with Warner Brothers and Disney movies will be featured in later rounds of the Playoffs and a Sony movie to be featured during The Finals.
Among other efforts, State Farm continues its "The Hoopers" push with Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers), Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), Lillard and Kevin Garnett (Minnesota Timberwolves).
Back to Home Page