SBD/June 6, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Supermarket Sweep: Local Grocer's Spurs Ads Draw Plaudits For Humorous Tone

San Antonio-based grocer H-E-B's ad campaign featuring Spurs players is "getting a lift -- and some national attention" -- thanks to the the club's run to the NBA Finals, according to Claudia Grisales of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. The campaign features Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard in "humorous, offbeat situations involving H-E-B products." The commercials feature the players "talking about H-E-B branded salsas, steaks, laundry detergent and their MooTopia milk drink." The company has used Spurs players in its ads "for more than 10 years, but this year’s campaign ... has created national buzz through social media." McGarrah Jessee PR & Social Media Dir Eric Webber said that the ads "appeal to a wide audience, from the obsessed fan to the non-fan." Spurs Sports & Entertainment Dir of Corporate Partnerships Jeanne Garza: "It’s kind of a little peek behind the curtain. They have been able to get more and more creative and show more of the personality over the years." Grisales notes the ads "get a little help from the NBA," which "distributed copies to other teams as part of their 'best practices' guide on how to promote players" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 6/6). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jason Gay noted the ads are "campy and cute" and, "like the Spurs ... they aren't extravagant." There is "not a lot of razzle-dazzle or special effects."  H-E-B Group VP/Marketing & Advertising Cory Basso said that the company "now puts out four Spurs spots a year, with the help of the Richards Group advertising agency and Sugar Film production company." Gay noted the commercials are "shot before the NBA season begins, at the team's training facility." In "an ingenious bit of production, four sets are constructed, and the players migrate from one set to the next." All of the ads "get knocked out in a day" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/5).
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