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SBD/June 25, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship
Heat's NBA Championship To Elevate LeBron James' Marketability
Published June 25, 2012
BREAKING BARRIERS: Nike on Thursday after Heat-Thunder NBA Finals Game Five “rushed out a spot” called "The Ring Maker." The 60-second ad “shows a jeweler crafting a championship ring” for James, while “highlights -- and lowlights -- of his career play on a TV in the background” (ADAGE.com, 6/22). On Long Island, Bobby Bonett wrote Nike “nailed the commercial" (NEWSDAY.com, 6/22). Meanwhile, the AP's Tim Reynolds noted James “ended a nearly two-month break from social media early Friday, posting a 50-second video to thank fans for both their support and their patience.” James now has “just over 5 million followers,” and is the “second U.S.-based athlete to cross the 5-million-follower mark” after TNT analyst and former NBAer Shaquille O'Neal (AP, 6/22).
HOT ON THE MARKET: In Ft. Lauderdale, Doreen Hemlock noted Heat fans “turned out in droves Friday to buy 2012 NBA Champions gear.” Dick’s Sporting Goods Marketing Manager Kim Freeman said, "We had a line out the door at Pembroke Pines. We had people traveling 60 miles to the store, just to get their T-shirts." Freeman said that Dick's Sporting Goods “opened its five South Florida stores right after the Heat won, stayed open until about 2 a.m. and then, reopened at 6 a.m. to meet demand from fans” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 6/24). Online retailer Fanatics experienced its best NBA merchandise sales for NBAStore.com, Fanatics.com and FansEdge.com following the Heat’s win. In the first 12 hours after the championship game, sales of NBA merchandise equaled nearly all of last year’s total sales in the first 24 hours following the Mavericks' NBA Championship. Revenue from merchandise sales by the end of the day Friday surpassed seven figures, exceeding sales following the Lakers’ title in ’10. Fanatics shipped about 70% of orders to locations outside of Florida (THE DAILY).
SAY UNCLE: Meanwhile, in N.Y., Benjamin Hoffman wrote the “breakout star” of this year’s NBA Finals was Cavaliers G Kyrie Irving, who doubles as Uncle Drew in Pepsi Max commercials. More than 11.7 million people went online to “find out who Uncle Drew actually was.” The ads and video “became a viral phenomenon largely through word-of-mouth" and the effort has yielded a 98% like-rate on YouTube. Irving said, “I’m not even Kyrie Irving anymore. I’m Uncle Drew.” Hoffman noted other than a “takeover advertisement on ESPN.com, nothing is planned right now” for additional Pepsi commercials (N.Y. TIMES, 6/24).