SBJ/20091026/This Week's News

Kia goes national for NBA’s ‘Tip-Off Week’

Kia Motors is returning as the presenting sponsor of the NBA’s “Tip-Off Week,” and this year the automaker is substituting a beefed-up national activation plan for an event-based strategy.

Absent this year is Kia’s daylong block party, held last year in New York City’s Union Square. Instead, the company is activating with “street team” promotions in 13 NBA markets and will increase its media buy on ESPN. The company is also sponsoring a ticket sweepstakes on ESPN.com.

Kia has been an NBA partner since 2008. The company also has sponsorship deals with 13 NBA teams.

“We did a local event last year, but Kia is expanding on a national basis through ESPN,” said Mark Tatum, executive vice president of marketing partnerships for the NBA.

The NBA season begins Tuesday with a doubleheader broadcast on TNT.

Other companies activating around the league’s tip-off week include Wheaties, Pepperidge Farm and 2K Sports, which are running sweepstakes through NBA.com. EA Sports is launching its new “NBA Live” video game, which serves as the presenting sponsor of all team previews on NBA.com.

Adidas and Nike are rolling out new campaigns around the start of the season. Adidas is launching “It’s On Me” with spots featuring Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic and Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, while Nike is launching spots around a new LeBron James shoe line. Converse is also releasing a new line of shoes endorsed by Elton Brand of the Philadelphia 76ers and Kirk Hinrich of the Chicago Bulls.

Sprite is rolling out an All-Star sweepstakes promotion in Regal movie theaters nationwide this week while new league partner Hewlett-Packard is using tip-off to activate a seasonlong promotion in seven major NBA markets. A new “Got Milk?” print ad featuring Denver Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups is also set to run nationally during the start of the season.

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