SBD/December 8, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

TNT Featuring Shaquille O'Neal In Commercials For Start Of NBA Season

TNT is "launching a major marketing campaign ahead of the NBA's Christmas Day tip-off for its lockout-shortened season," according to Dan Hirschhorn of AD AGE. The net's three new TV spots feature retired NBAer and new TNT analyst Shaquille O'Neal. The campaign started "last weekend with a spot on CBS's NFL broadcast but adds heavier national advertising on TNT and elsewhere this weekend." The campaign places a "heavier emphasis on digital and social media than in previous years, fueled in no small part by Shaq's 4.6 million Twitter followers." It also includes "print ads in The New York Times starting Dec. 23 and TNT is in talks with national retailers about in-store holiday promotions." Unlike previous promo efforts that "focused more on the actual team match-ups, this year's puts the spotlight on Shaq and his larger-than-life persona." That, combined with the Christmas Day opening that "resulted from the lockout, has the network hoping to draw more casual fans into the mix." Meanwhile, ESPN started "promoting its Christmas Day games Tuesday night with a spot highlighting some of last season's key storylines." The net is "shooting more spots this week that will include both ESPN talent and current and former NBA players" (, 12/7).
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