Hulu Has Live Sports, Pays Endorsers Lillard, Embiid, Giannis To Say So
Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 06:15PM in Ad Campaigns, Giannis, Hulu, Joel Embiid, NBA, ad campaigns, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

February 15, 2019: If you didn’t know that Hulu has live sports, you will soon, thanks to a trio of NBA All-Star players.

And if you didn’t know that companies pay athletes to endorse their products, well, that’s something Hulu will tell you, as well.

OTT platform Hulu gets in-your-face about product endorsements in a new humorous caustic multi-media campaign, “Hulu Sellouts,” in which Damian Lillard, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo not only tout the fact that Hulu has live sports, but go to extremes to spread the word.

In his standalone spot, "Damian Lillard’s Tattoo," the Portland Trail Blazers guard gets a tattoo that literally reads, “Hulu Has Live Sports.”

In "Joel Embiid's Nickname," the Philadelphia 76ers center changes his nickname from “The Process” to “Hulu Has Live Sports.”

NBA MVP candidate Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks will have fun with his “Greek Freak” persona in a spot to be revealed.

The campaign also includes digital and social media, as well as consumer activation beginning All-Star Weekend.

On Twitter, Facebook and other social media destinations, Hulu said accounts for each of the players would have such hash tags as #ad, #paid, #sponsored, #hulupaidme, #neversellout and #hulusellouts.

The campaign will run throughout the year with athletes from other sports, according to the company.

Lead agency is Big Family Table, Los Angeles.

Hulu, which is jointly owned by Comcast Corp., Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox Inc. and AT&T WarnerMedia, said that in 2018, its advertising revenue rose more than 45% to nearly $1.5 billion – the most in its history – and increased its advertiser base by 50%.

Hulu also said it added eight million subscribers in 2018 and closed its fiscal year with more than 25 million total subscribers across its subscription on demand and live TV plans in the U.S.

The “Sellout” effort is running concurrently with Hulu’s “Better Ruins Everything” push, also from Big Family Table, which uses the same type of caustic humor.

In his spot, NBA All-Star James Harden, one of several celebrities in the effort, says, ”Never get a king-size bed — it ruins sleeping on anything else forever. And never get Hulu, with live TV for sports plus tons of shows and movies. It will ruin TV for you forever.”

All three players in the “Sellout” campaign are highly visible among NBA partners and other companies.

Lillard stars in a new effort from Biofreeze. Embiid currently appears in spots for Mountain Dew, NBA League Pass and HyperX, and was in the recent campaign for “The Grinch” movie.

Antetokounmpo just signed with Metro by T-Mobile, is on the cover of NBA 2K and even appears in a safety video that plays on flights on Aegean Airlines.

In his spot, Lilliard is asked why he’s getting a tattoo that reads, “Hulu Has Live Sports.”

“It’s in the contract,” he replies, sitting in a tattoo parlor along with two Hulu lawyers.

“Can I at least change the font?” asks the tattoo artist.

“If you want to be sued,” replies one of the lawyers, who also kills such options as having the text come out of a dragon’s mouth or written on the back of a dolphin.

In his spot, fans notice that Embiid is signing his autographs “Joel ‘Hulu Has Lve Sports’ Embiid.”

“Mr. Embiid, why’d you change your nickname?” asks one young fan.

Embiid’s terse answer, “Money.”

All three spots end with the players sitting at a press conference table, wads of cash piled next to them, wearing a jersey and in from of a page backdrop, both of which read, “Hulu Has Live Sports.”

As Embiid continually repeats the phase, his pile of money grows each time.

Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast each currently own 30% of Hulu, with AT&T Warner Media at 10%. An acquisition deal still being finalized that would give Disney the share owned by Fox.

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