NBA “Amazing Is” Campaign Comes to a Close
Much like each individual professional sports team is a business, the leagues in which they compete in are companies in themselves. The purpose of marketing a sports league is to increase viewership as well as generate buzz and interest for that particular sport in general. Whereas a specific product or company’s ad campaign may last for several years at a time, typically a campaign for a professional sports league will change with each season.
The National Basketball Association often adheres to a set schedule of introducing a fresh campaign and tagline with each new season, and commonly develops an advertising scheme specifically for the playoffs. The success of marketing the NBA over the past few years has been an integral part to the league’s existence as the 2000’s saw a sharp decline in the popularity of the NBA. Fans who had grown up during the 1980s and witnessed the golden era of basketball were not interested by the changing dynamic of the NBA. Athletes seemed to be putting in less of an effort on the floor each day and the players focus towards max contracts overshadowed the love for the game, or so it’s been said.
Sure, this may not be completely accurate, but little Johnny who watched Larry Bird battling it out against Magic Johnson was not quite getting the same experience at the turn of the millennium. The NBA’s ad agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, has realized this and thus introduced its current playoff campaign while keeping those nostalgic of basketball’s years past in mind.
If you have watched any NBA playoff basketball over the past year you have likely seen one of Goodby’s commercials. The current advertisements are part of this years “Amazing Is” campaign which all fall under the advertising initiative titled “Where Amazing Happens” that the NBA launched three years ago. This years playoff commercials took sound bites from meaningful moments in the NBA’s history and mashed these together with recent memorable events. The final product is a series of commercials mixed to rhythms and beats that combine the current NBA experience with a retrospective vibe.
Goodby partnered with DJ Steve Porter to produce each of these tv spots. As the playoffs progressed, so did the commercials, as each round featured a different theme beginning with “Belief” and followed by “Unity” and then “the Journey”.
The fourth and final chapter to the ad series is titled “the Dream” (conveniently for the NBA finals). I find it interesting that while the commercials aired during the rounds leading up to the finals featured many current players and highlights, this concluding segment only spotlights athletes of the past. If Goodby is attempting to bring the focus back to what the fans adored about basketball during the 1980s, this makes sense. This commercial does create a sense of nostalgia of what was so magical about basketball many years ago. It creates a feeling of interconnectedness with the NBA, and I’m not going to lie, did almost bring a tear to my eye.
This closing episode to the “Amazing Is” NBA playoff campaign truly hits home. Goodby executed their campaign well throughout the entirety of the playoffs, creating an anticipation and interest that has been missing as of late. The result: a double digit increase in viewer ship and ratings from last year. While NBA popularity can be contributed to many more factors than its advertising campaign, these creative ideas introduced by Goodby do play a hand.