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Volume 20 No. 42
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NBA ads start countdown for season

The NBA is rolling out a series of television commercials to promote the coming season that builds on the league’s established “Big” advertising platform.

The spots build on the “Big” advertising platform.
A 30-second spot dubbed “Countdown” began airing last week on ESPN, TNT and NBA TV. The creative features a series of game-related elements moving back and forth, including players in their pregame routines, with the images set to the sound of a ticking clock.

New for the league this season is the integration of the “Big” campaign with ticket, merchandise and other retail efforts. The first of such spots will promote the NBA Store, with other spots to be rolled out after the season begins. The creative for those ticket and retail-related commercials has not yet been completed.

League partner Kia also will use the “Big” theme as part of a 30-second spot promoting its sponsorship of the official NBA season-opening platform: Kia NBA Tip-Off ’12. The spot uses game footage of various players and will debut on opening night, Oct. 30. It will run through the end of November across TNT, ESPN and NBA TV.

This is the NBA’s second season using the “Big” campaign, which was created by the league’s agency of record, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

“The campaign serves as a big umbrella and it is seamless,” said Jamie Gallo, executive vice president of marketing for the NBA. “It is not forced even as it is applied to our partners.”

Gallo joined the NBA in June. This is the first campaign under his direction.

“Last year, we did a great job in the adoption of the campaign, and this year, the campaign will focus on storytelling and narrative,” he said.

NBA TV will use “Big” for its “Big Shots” 30-second spot featuring Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant talking about taking dramatic shots. The spot also will feature footage of Miami’s LeBron James and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, among others. The ads were scheduled to debut this past weekend and run through Dec. 10 on NBA TV. At that point, the league will roll out another series of spots tied to its Christmas Day games.

“We will dial up around the holiday season activity,” Gallo said. “Our thinking this year is that [the NBA’s Christmas Day schedule] is our version of Super Bowl Sunday and that it is another platform to engage our fans.”