SBD/February 25, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Kia Breaking Slam Dunk-Themed Ad With Blake Griffin

Clippers F Blake Griffin’s dunk over a Kia Optima which won the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest last Saturday as part of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend will be incorporated into a TV ad breaking Friday on ESPN’s NBA doubleheader, as well as Friday's Clippers-Lakers broadcast on FS Prime Ticket and FS West. The ad shows a side view of the dunk in slow motion, enough to include the beauty shot that is a staple in any auto ad. It says, “Not your average dunk. Not your average mid-sized sedan.” Print versions of the ad appear in Friday’s USA Today and L.A. Times. The question now is how long that moment will endure, said Tim McGhee, Senior VP for IMG Consulting, Kia's sports and sponsorship agency. On Sunday, the day after the dunk, Griffin did an appearance at NBA Jam Session fan fest and even after he signed the car and left, fans were queuing to get pictures of themselves next to the Kia he dunked over (Terry Lefton, THE DAILY). Kia Dir of Marketing Tim Chaney said that the brand "didn't pay an additional fee to the NBA, which shot the spot for them, because of the car's status as the official car sponsor of the league." Chaney noted that it is "possible that the ad will run throughout the remainder of the season." CNBC.com's Darren Rovell reported "right now, the deal is a one-off with Griffin, but Kia and Griffin's agency Excel Sports Management have continued discussions on possibly doing a longer term deal." The only other athlete on Kia's endorsement roster is golfer Michelle Wie (CNBC.com, 2/24).

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