SBJ/March 28-April 3, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

NBA campaign’s star is pumped for postseason

The NBA will roll out a postseason advertising campaign on April 8, with six spots highlighting the game from a different perspective: a talking basketball.

The campaign, tagged “First Hand,” will have four 30-second spots promoting the playoffs and two 30-second spots touting the NBA Finals.

The NBA’s talking basketball, voiced by several actors, will appear in six spots.
“First Hand” features a talking basketball looking back at recent playoff highlights, including the 2009 seven-game first-round series between Chicago and Boston and last year’s six-game first-round series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City. The voice of the basketball in the four playoff-themed spots comes from actors Michael Clarke Duncan, Hank Azaria, John Slattery and Charlie Murphy.

Roy Firestone will be the voice of the talking basketball in the Finals spots, as the ball interviews Magic Johnson and Julius Erving, reliving their Finals highlights.

“Our strategy this year is to tell our playoff story in a different way,” said Danny Meiseles, executive vice president and executive producer of NBA Entertainment. “One of the constants is our game is the ball. We tell the story in a documentary style with the talking basketball going back and forth with actual highlight footage.”

The spots will run on TNT, ESPN, NBA TV, NBA.com and on all of the NBA’s social media outlets. No print buy is included.

The playoffs begin April 16.

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, which created the league’s highly acclaimed “Where Amazing Happens” campaign, is the NBA’s agency of record.

The campaign will run through mid-June and, for the first time in three years, is separate from the “Amazing” creative umbrella, though league officials said the “Amazing” campaign has not ended.

“The spots show the confidence we have in Goodby,” Meiseles said. “We knew that the creative using an actual ball would work.”

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