By Barry Janoff
November 5, 2015: Just like properly inflated basketballs, clean jerseys and fresh kicks, the start of the NBA season would not be the same without a new campaign from supermarket chain H-E-B featuring a cast of characters from the San Antonio Spurs.
For the 11th year, H‑E‑B and Spurs Sports & Entertainment have teamed to created a multi-layer marketing campaign anchored by six humorous TV spots starring Spurs stars Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Patty Mills, Tony Parker, team mascot The Coyote and newcomer LaMarcus Aldridge, who signed with the team during the off-season.
H-E-B has 360 stores in Texas and Mexico, but gets a marketing spotlight well beyond its region, not just because of the star power of Duncan, Parker and crew, but because fans and consumers tend to enjoy the low-key, if not homey attitude of the effort.
“We never dreamed it would take off like this,” said Cory Basso, H-E-B's group vp-marketing and advertising. told Spurs.com. “I think the Spurs’ culture and ours are similar, and want to tie them together in a fun way with these commercials.”
In addition to the spots, the campaign includes Internet, social media, POP and in-arena in AT&T Center, the Spurs home venue.
H-E-B, a 110-year-old company with sales topping $22 billion, has a vested interest as a marketing partner with the team, including the 7,300 square foot H-E-B FanZone in AT&T Center that contains 56 LCD flat-screen TVs, pop-a-shot games, arena bowl view, a private bar and multiple catering stations.
The six spots, five in English and one in Spanish, were all shot in one day last month, each focusing on a different area of the supermarket.
"Cooking Class" finds the players being instructed on how to make jalapeño poppers by "Chef" Tony Parker.
"Gifts For Marcus" sees Aldridge being welcomed to the team with H-E-B Primo Picks: That Green Sauce, Creamy Creations and Prime 1 Steaks and Burgers.
In "New Boat," the players seek a name for a fishing vessel as they talk about H-E-B Oven Ready Seafood meals. (Timtanic. Man-u-Ray. Hoop Line and Sinker, Kawhi Knot and LaSharkus are all proposed, none of which are accepted.)
"Chicken Retreat" features H-E-B's "fresh, local, 100% natural chicken with no artificial ingredients or preservatives," in which Ginobili has deconstructed the team's home court to use the floorboards to build a chicken coop.
The team mascot stars in "Stronger Than Coyote," in which Green and Mills help Coyote put H-E-B Texas Tough products to the test.
The NBA said it uses the Spurs H-E-B campaigns to show other teams how to use players to promote marketing partners.
Lead agency is Richards Group, Dallas.
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