SBD/October 22, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Spurs Set To Debut New Batch Of Popular Ads For Local Supermarket Chain H-E-B

H-E-B's ads gained popularity as more Spurs players participated
Spurs F Tim Duncan and a group of teammates early this month filmed their "annual batch of television spots" for San Antonio-based supermarket chain H-E-B, according to Dan McCarney of the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS. The spots have been "recognized on ESPN and, and the NBA distributes copies to other franchises as an example of how to market athletes." H-E-B Group VP/Marketing & Advertising Cory Basso said that the campaign has "won more than a dozen local and national honors." Basso: “If you look at other (local) commercials around the league, I think we've found a way to come off as fun, original and still about the product. We didn't (copy) anything. We just tried to use humor, use the players' personalities and do something different.” The commercials "began airing in the mid-2000s, with Duncan appearing solo." The tone was "offbeat from the start, but it wasn't until H-E-B began including his teammates that the spots truly took off." The "popular commercials, roughly 30 in all," are produced by Dallas-based The Richards Group. Richards Group Brand Manager Howard Blevins said that the creative process "begins in August, when his team sketches out as many as two dozen rough ideas." With input from "Basso and the Spurs, the pool is narrowed to four or five scripts." Among the "many celebrities" campaign director Chris Smith has worked with, the Spurs "stand out for their willingness to participate." Blevins said that it was Duncan's idea to "wear a tuxedo T-shirt" in a commercial in which a coyote "gets his tongue stuck to an ice sculpture at a black-tie dinner party." Basso "declined to reveal details from this year's commercials," but he did "provide a clue about the much-anticipated inclusion of Kawhi Leonard." Spurs F Matt Bonner "also has a cameo" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 10/22).
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