SBJ/20090316/This Week's News

NBA’s ‘Amazing’ campaign heading to the playoffs

The NBA is rolling out a new postseason advertising campaign that will feature between 25 and 30 spots showcasing playoff highlights from current and past players with the tag line “Where Will Amazing Happen This Year?”

The campaign, which was expected to debut during Sunday’s NBA coverage on ABC, features black-and-white footage of players’ individual memorable playoff moments, including spots for LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. Also included are ads showing past playoff highlights featuring Larry Bird, Julius Erving and Magic Johnson, with a fourth spot also in the works.

The NBA playoffs begin April 18.

This year’s postseason campaign follows last year’s successful “There Can Only Be One” effort, which featured a split screen showing half of two players’ faces, their voices synchronized to create a dramatic visual of a single player talking about the playoffs. The campaign was such a cultural hit that it resulted in knockoff spots on “Saturday Night Live” and on the cover of Time magazine with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Individual spots will feature current stars
like James (above) and NBA legends.

But this year, the NBA decided on a new effort that folds the postseason campaign under its “Where Amazing Happens” regular-season campaign.

“The ‘Where Amazing Happens’ campaign has been very successful for us all season, and now we are rolling it into the playoffs,” said Danny Meiseles, senior vice president and executive producer for the NBA. “We saw how successful last year’s campaign was, but we felt that from a brand perspective, it was more of how we can talk about our players and how we can keep the moments of the ‘Where Amazing Happens’ campaign.”

Notable this year is that for the first time, all three of the NBA’s network partners — ABC, Turner and ESPN — will use the same campaign. The networks typically develop their own campaigns. Turner, for example, used actor Terence Howard to promote its playoff coverage last year.

Turner this year will still use its “Forty Days. Forty Nights” playoff messaging theme but will use the NBA’s spots to broaden the campaign’s reach.

“You can’t argue with the reach when Turner, ESPN, and the NBA are all committed to using the campaign,” said Jennifer Storms, senior vice president of marketing and programming for Turner.

The 30-second spots touting the postseason were created by San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, the NBA’s agency of record, which also produced last year’s playoff campaign.

The league will also have a print buy, though league executives have not completed their media plan.

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