By Barry Janoff
December 23, 2015: While people are preparing to take time off for the holidays, the NBA has gone in the opposite direction, releasing new ad campaigns, products and opening an entire 25,000 square-foot store.
Meanwhile such NBA marketing partners as Nike, adidas, Foot Locker, State Farm,and Kia have also ramped up their activation, all in preparation for a slate of five games to air nationally on ESPN and ABC on Christmas as well as looking ahead to the NBA All-Star Game in Toronto in February.
Among the companies set to break spots during Christmas Day programming are State Farm, which will have two campaigns.
State Farm has complied a team of NBA stars and envisioned them as a modern American — sometimes dysfunctional family, The Hoopers.
The family includes Chris Paul (Dad), DeAndre Jordan (Mom), Kevin Love (son), Kevin Garnett (Gramdpa), Damian Lillard (baby), who will appear in multi-platform campaign throughout the season, anchored by five spots, that "demonstrates the value of receiving help from a State Farm agent during every stage of life."
The first three are "Meet The Hoopers," "Robbed" and "Hawks and Hornets." The effort also comes with merchandise, including T-shirts, fanny packs and a mini-basketball, available for purchase (here).
The second campaign features Paul and quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the NFL's Green Bay Packers.
In an extended spot, the pair do "trick shots" along with the guys from Dude Perfect, including Paul making baskets in a hoop that rotates 360 degrees and Rodgers hitting various targets (moving and otherwise) with a football. In addition to selling insurance, this multi-platform effort will benefit The Chris Paul Family Foundation and Rodgers' The MACC Fund.
First-year partners premiering NBA-themed spots on Friday include Harman (JBL), which has a "Listen In Color" campaign starring Curry and Lillard; and Tissot, which will support its league- and team-themed watches, with the initial spot, "This Is Your Time," including action clips of such players as Curry, Derek Rose and Chris Paul.
Via social media, Diageo will feature its Cîroc brand in a new vignette series under its season-long umbrella platform “Moments of Celebration."
Dr. Scholl’s will launch online two vignette series hosted by former NBA player and current NBA on TNT analyst Kenny Smith, in which he "shares ways players can raise their game."
Also via social media, Under Armour and NBA Fit will debut the NBA FIT Fast break Challenge), which will live on Under Armour’s app, UA Record. The challenge includes NBA content, training tips and routines.
The NBA takes a stand against gun violence in a new PSA, "We Can End Gun Violence," which broke this week, directed by Spike Lee and featuring, among others, Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah, and Chris Paul. The campaign is being run under the auspices of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, a nonprofit division of an advocacy group founded by Michael Bloomberg, head of Bloomberg and former mayor for New York City.
According to Mike Bass, a spokesman for the NBA, “The PSA airing during our Christmas Day games highlights victims’ and some of our players’ experiences with gun violence and is solely to raise awareness about the issue and personal safety in our communities. Our players are passionate about trying to put an end to gun violence and trying to make their communities stronger and safer for kids and families.”
NBA Countdown, ESPN's analysis show, will include a special Christmas broadcast open featuring a Claymation story is set in the home of the Yeti (abominable snowman), "who is a fan of the NBA — most notably the Golden State Warriors."
On Christmas Day, several NBA players will come baring gifts, including Curry and his daughter Riley.
Nike this week unveiled a “Bring Your Game” campaign, in which a group of young athletes select their favorite basketball player and then spend time with the likes of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Paul George, Kevin Durant and Elena Delle Donne.
This vignettes build up to a five-minute film that Nike will debut on Christmas Day.
James also stars in a campaign that recently broke for the Kia K900 in which he reads what Kia said are actual comments on Twitter and then acts on them.
In the first, "Ten Mil," James, reacts to a Twitter user identified as "Trey Herbert @TH_3," who tweets, "I'll bet anyone $10,000,000 that LeBron doesn't roll up to the games in a Kia," which motivates James to drive in his K900 to find the guy.
In “1,000%” and “Spaceship.” James responds to the tweets, “There’s a thousand percent chance that there’s a zero percent chance that LeBron drives a Kia" and “LeBron drives a Kia like I fly a spaceship.
In addition, Kia was presenting partner of the NBA Holiday Gift Sweepstakes, giving people a chance to win prizes including tickets, NBAStore.com gift codes, copies of NBA2K16, JBL speakers and a 2016 Kia Optima.
Foot Locker will get airplay through its two most recent ads.
One with Russell Westbrook, "Fly Your Own Way," sees a young fan told by such experts as Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Sports Science's John Brenkus and NBA commentator Jalen Rose what makes Westbrook special; and another for Kids Foot Locker, "Game Film," in which two young fans find Stephen Curry "working hard" for his next game (which includes relaxing in a reclining chair and drinking milk shakes).
Adidas, which is supplying the special-edition NBA Christmas jerseys, recently broke a spot touting its new 13-year, $200 million alliance with James Harden of the Houston Rockets.
The NBA this week opened the NBA Store in New York (5th & 45th), three floors filled with 75,000 units from 60 licensees, including Nke, adidas, Under Armour and Mitchell & Ness.
The largest in-store collection of official NBA, WNBA, NBA D-League merchandise also has a interactive product displays; screens displaying live broadcasts, game-action footage and social media content, video game consoles, pop-a-shots and player measurement charts.
One new campaign from the NBA, "Stars From Stars," has such players as John Wall, Jimmy Butler, Damian Lillard and Zack LaVine hawking unusual items from the NBA Store and StoreNBA.com, including league- and team-themed balloons, fanny packs, BBQ sets, tumblers and Argyle Sock Monkeys.
This is the eighth consecutive year the NBA has featured five games on Christmas Day.
• New Orleans Pelicans @ Miami Heat Noon (ET) ESPN
• Chicago Bulls @ Oklahoma City Thunder 2:30 PM (ET) ABC
• Cleveland Cavaliers @ Golden State Warriors 5 PM (ET) ABC
• San Antonio Spurs @ Houston Rockets 8 PM (ET) ESPN
• Los Angeles Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers 10:30 PM (ET) ESPN
What Happens When LeBron James Read Tweets About LeBron James
Foot Locker Asks Experts How To Be (Or Not Be) An NBA Star
What To Give A NBA Fan Who Has It All: SOck Moneys, Fanny Packs
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