SBD/October 27, 2010/Franchises

Knicks Look To Reconnect With Fans Through Marketing Campaign

Knicks Unveil "You. Us. We. Now" Ad Campaign

The Knicks today are introducing a marketing campaign to "stimulate interest in the team for the 2010-11 season," according to Stuart Elliott of the N.Y. TIMES. The campaign "celebrates new and returning players like Amar’e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton and Danilo Gallinari in seeking to rebuild the strong sense of community that existed between the Knicks and their fans as well as among the fans." That is indicated by the theme, “You. Us. We. Now,” and the addition of a website next week called To "underline the community aspects of the campaign, it is replete with new media elements online, on mobile devices and in social media" like Facebook and Twitter. MSG Sports Exec VP/Marketing & Ticket Sales Howard Jacobs said as the Knicks seek to "reconnect the team and the city ... we want fans to engage on a more regular and active basis on all the platforms: come to the Garden, watch on the MSG network, come to events, text in, upload pictures to Facebook, follow the players on Twitter." The campaign is the "result of a collaboration among multiple agencies." Hock Films worked on the TV ads and "video clips shown during games." The KMco worked with the Knicks and a boutique called Co to "develop the campaign theme." The KMco is also "handling digital aspects like the new Web site and social media presence." In addition, Caruso Productions is "producing the commercials and video," and Crossmedia is "handling the media planning and buying." Jacobs "declined to be more specific about the budget for the campaign other than to describe it as a multimillion-dollar figure." However, he said spending would be “up probably 25 percent over last year.” The Kantar Media unit of WPP reported that the Knicks "spent $270,000 to advertise in major media last year, compared with $309,200 in 2008 and $252,300 in 2007" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/27). 

BATTLE FOR BROOKLYN: In N.Y., Stefan Bondy reports the Knicks have hung up a billboard featuring Stoudemire "near the construction site" of the Nets' Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The billboard -- which is "much smaller and lower than the Nets' billboard that overlooked the Garden -- has Stoudemire posing in front of the Manhattan Bridge with 'Brooklyn Represent' written underneath." Nets CEO Brett Yormark: "I encourage them to do this. It heightens the awareness for us and basketball in the area and ignites our fanbase. I thank them because it's only going to help us in the long run." The Knicks "declined to comment about the billboard that hangs on the side of a storage warehouse, although they put up similar ones throughout the tri-state area." The manager of the warehouse said that he "didn't deal with the Knicks, only an advertising company." Bondy cites a source as saying that Knicks Owner James Dolan "has wanted to retaliate for the 1,200-foot mural of Nets owners Mikhail Prokhorov and Jay-Z that graced a skyscraper near the Garden in July." At least part of the Knicks' marketing effort in Brooklyn is "aimed at attracting the large Russian population." It is a "potential fanbase the Nets feel is important for their move from Newark to Brooklyn in two years because their billionaire Russian owner, Prokhorov, is recognizable in the community." Meanwhile, the Knicks are "marketing their own Russian commodity," C Timofey Mozgov (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/27).

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