Five Great NBA Marketing Campaigns From the Recent Past
Marketing for the NBA has always focused on product branding by superstar athletes. Some of the most impactful campaigns were first run years ago but still remain in the hearts and minds of fans. Here are some of the most memorable NBA marketing campaigns that made waves over the last ten to fifteen years.
Leap of Faith – Lebron James and Powerade
Powerade created hoax-type ads that made viewers question the abilities of some of the best athletes of the time. Powerade developed ads tagged with the slogan “Very Real Power.” Done in the style of amateur filming, these ads were made to look cheap, as if what happened could be a possibility. The ad featuring Lebron James, NBA all-star for the Cleveland Cavaliers, made it appear as though Lebron made five shots in a row from full court. The ad copy, “Lebron James makes five in a row practicing for Powerade commercial”, added to the mystery of whether this was true or not. It captured people’s attention and created a great deal of buzz as viewers tried to dissect the reality of the commercials.
Converse – Dwayne Wade’s Breakout Sneaker
The slogan for this campaign was, “Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight”. This confused people, but also got them interested in learning more about the brand. A star of the Miami Heat, Dwayne Wade is shown in the commercial diving for the ball and getting slammed around by the competition. After crashing to the ground a number of times, he is able to rise from the floor and smashes a series of slam-dunks.
Nike – Kobe Bryant’s Hyperdunks
Remember when Kobe Bryant from the Lakers jumped over an Aston Martin? This great campaign created by Nike showed Bryant leaping over a moving car while wearing his new sneakers, Hyperdunks. In the same vein as the Powerade commercials, fans had just enough faith in Bryant’s abilities to believe he could have really made the leap.
Air Jordan – Michael Jordan and the 17th Signature Sneaker
Michael Jordan has been a mainstay in NBA marketing campaigns for a decade or more, and his 17th signature sneaker campaign was no exception. It was Jordan’s final season in the NBA, and instead of high-flying antics, the music was cool, soft jazz– Jordan’s favorite. The atmosphere was smoky, refined, and Jordan’s final season went out with class. The shoes came with a silver briefcase and a CD with a jazz song. The theme was, “time to go to work”. This tapped into a cool nostalgia and associated the shoe with Jordan’s classic status as an NBA star.
Adidas – Derrick Rose and The Bull
This Adidas ad showcased Derrick Rose’s skills, but didn’t involve any speaking at all. He simply ran through matadors shaking red blankets, spun, and dunked the ball – all while rose petals fell from the crowd. Any time an ad can be created without any speaking, that’s an excellent, memorable campaign.
These classic campaigns provide great lessons for tomorrow’s sport marketers as they work to create experiences and memories that last among sports spans. For those interested in an online degree in sport management, these examples also reflect how top sports players can impact the campaigns with which they are involved.
To learn more about sport marketing and management, visit Adelphi University online.