By Barry Janoff
February 3, 2016: Saying that it wants to celebrate the "passion and confidence that basketball fuels among athletes and fans both on and off the court," sporting goods and equipment company Spalding is launching a campaign to search for and focus on people who "have the uncompromising confidence needed to defy all odds and obstacles."
Spalding, the official basketball of the NBA and WNBA as well as the official backboard of the NBA, has put All-Stars Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) and DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors) in the midst of a multi-platform effort, True Believers.
The campaign includes Internet, social media, digital, an element offering a trip to the NBA Finals in June and a three part docu-series, scheduled to premier in June, which "celebrates the inner confidence and True Believers spirit shared by athletes the world over."
The umbrella tag line: "True Believers Are True To The Game."
There are two interactive elements to the effort.
People who post a photo of themselves or others on Twitter or Instagram that show how they are "True to the Game" will be eligible for such prizes as Spalding NBA products and game tickets. (Details here.)
Separately, at a Web destination, TrueBelievers.Spalding.com, visitors will find a Spalding Nickname Generator.
According to Spalding, "By answering a series of quick, yet intuitive questions, consumers can generate a nickname, which is then delivered to them by brand endorsers Lillard and DeRozan. These unique names will be created for True Believers to discover and share on their social networks.
Spalding said that for a limited time visitors who generate a nickname would be entered to win a trip to the NBA Finals. (Details here.) Early entries include "The Board Collector," "Arc of Justice," "World's Smallest Dunklin" and "Head Honcho in the Poncho."
"My Mom named me Damian," Lllard says in one supporting spot. "Now I got people calling me 'Game Time,' 'Ill Lil' and 'The Omen.' It's cool. I appreciate it. I always knew that one day, my name would stand for something. And look good on a jersey."
Text then reads, "Damian earned his name. Will you?"
Among other activations, Lillard and DeRozan are scheduled to participate in a special Periscope interview prior to the Raptors playing at the Trail Blazers on Feb. 4.
"As the official basketball of the NBA we have a front row seat to the passion and confidence the sport fuels among athletes and fans both on and off the court," Kenyatta Bynoe, senior director-marketing for Spalding, said in a statement. "Our goal is to tap into that passion via storytelling across multiple channels in a way that will actively demonstrate how our products enable confidence as well as insert Spalding into the lifestyle conversation."
The three part docu-series, in partnership with Slam Magazine and via agency Walton Isaacson, is scheduled to be distributed via ABC, ESPN.com and the Maker Studios YouTube network and promoted via WatchESPN app, local ESPN social channels and on the Slam, ESPN and ABC digital networks, per Spalding.
According to Vida Cornelious, evp/CEO for Walton Isaacson, "This campaign will start a new dialogue around Spalding with the millennial athlete. We know he or she wants the tools and products they believe can take them to the next level and get it done. We're creating a movement around them and a call-to-action to share their stories because believers change the game on the court and in life."
Spalding also has official alliances that include the NCAA (official backboard), Little League World Series (official baseball) and King of the Beach Volleyball Tour (official volleyball).
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