SBJ/April 21-27, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

NBA sponsors gear up activation plans around playoffs, roll out new creative

The start of the NBA playoffs means a new slate of activation plans from the league’s corporate partners, including new creative from three sponsors.

State Farm Insurance is marking the postseason with a new commercial featuring Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul in its “Born to Assist” campaign. The 60-second spot will feature a cameo by Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry.

Sprint is launching a 30-second spot featuring Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant to promote the company’s new “Framily Plan.” This marks the brand’s third ad featuring Durant.

Foot Locker is running a new 30-second ad labeled “No Rings” featuring Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard with cameos by former NBA stars Karl Malone and Chris Webber and former NFL greats Barry Sanders and LaDainian Tomlinson.

Among other partners, Bud Light is using the postseason to activate
further around its “Up For Whatever” promotion, debuting a video of two fans who were given an ultimate NBA weekend. The video will show the fans playing video games against former NBA great Alonzo Mourning, receiving a special delivery from former NBAer Malone, and playing a game of H.O.R.S.E against another NBA legend, Clyde Drexler.

Foot Locker is running a 30-second ad featuring Damian Lillard and former NBA and NFL greats.

The video was slated to debut on the Bud Light YouTube channel and through the brand’s other social media outlets.

League partner Kia plans to run current spots throughout the postseason as well.

The playoffs began this past weekend.

Movie studios are again using the NBA playoffs as a promotional springboard. Warner Bros., Sony, and Disney are set to run spots to promote a total of five movies this year. The first will be from Sony, which will be promoting “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” The other spots have yet to be disclosed.

Last year, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony and Disney all ran spots promoting movies during the playoffs.

Social media again has a key role in the league’s postseason initiatives. Taco Bell is developing the Taco Bell Buzzer Beater playlist on the NBA’s YouTube channel, with each “buzzer beater” video clip to be promoted on Instagram and Twitter. Like last season, the NBA also plans to push out real-time game highlights through Twitter, with Champs, American Express and State Farm partnering with the league on the effort.

“Social media is another way we are engaging with fans,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum. “There is going to be a whole host of social platforms.”

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