To leverage the fact that the Christmas Day USA sports landscape is dominated by basketball, NBA partner Nike launched its ‘Bring Your Game’ campaign on 25 December exploring the theme that there is no single blueprint for today’s brilliant ballers.
The festive season campaign is spearheaded by seven key members of Nike’s basketball endorser group – from the NBA and the WNBA – each of whom have very different skill sets and personalities.
Each member of Nike Basketball’s flagship athlete ambassador team embraces the campaign’s singular creative idea and the brand’s competitive spirit by pushing the game to new places in their own signature style – this showing that there is no single prescription to the sport’s success.
Aimed at the younger end of the NBA fan market, the integrated campaign sees LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, Paul George and Elena Delle Donne all entertain four young fans crossing the country in order to choose which is their favourite player.
Breaking on Christmas Day itself, the campaign (which also features a cameo from Nike tennis star Serena Williams) is split into seven sections
Before the main campaign film was launched, Nike worked with the ambassadors to roll out much of its content across their social media channels (such as this Kobe tweet) in order to build hype and excitement around the initiative.
— Nike Basketball (@nikebasketball) December 23, 2015
This phase was followed with the main film which debuted in 3000 cinemas before airing during the televised festive games on national TV.
Directed by Rick Famuyiwa, the comic film was created by Nike Basketball by regular agency Wieden+Kennedy, the spot sees a group of young fans visit the homes of LeBron, Kyrie, KD, Kobe and more to discover the personal routines and daily quirks they use to prepare for on-court success.
The ad spans lighthearted vignettes ranging from yacht fishing and spirulina cake which are all genuinely rooted in the respective player’s lives.
For instance, Paul George, who is featured casually fishes from the edge of a yacht, is actually an avid fisherman who has competed in tournaments and even won a few trophies.
Indeed, the campaign’s digital hub at ‘Bring Your Game’ not only features the full length film but also additional interesting facts about the players.
1. For much of his career, Kobe Bryant has anchored his day with 10 to 15 minutes of morning meditation.
2. The cerebral player also famously travels from his home to his team’s downtown LA arena in a helicopter.
3. Elena Delle Donne’s new hometown, Chicago, has enthusiastically embraced the league MVP. In turn, the Delaware native has gotten comfortable in the Windy City, going as far as naming her Great Dane Wrigley, after the city’s famous baseball park.
4. Anthony Davis sprouted seven inches in a single high school year, evolving from a 6’3” guard to a 6’10” post player while retaining his shooting touch. As a result, Davis has blossomed into one of the league’s most versatile scorers and forecasts a future of hybrid basketball players.
5. On court, Kevin Durant is a ruthless scorer. Off of it, he’s busy giving back to communities in Oklahoma City and his hometown: Seat Pleasant, Maryland.
6. Although Durant stands at 6’9,” he has the wingspan of a 7’4” player, which helps him “posterize” opponents.
7. George’s love of fishing developed in childhood and has progressed into something of a second sporting career — he’s competed in fishing tournaments and won a few trophies. It also remains the two-time All Star’s preferred method of relaxation.
8. Three-time All-Star Kyrie Irving takes his dribbling so seriously that he used to wrap balls in plastic bags to manufacture an unpredictable bounce. The dedication paid off: Constant practice has delivered Irving a dazzling set of skills that regularly mesmerizes defenders and fans.
9. In the summer of 2014, LeBron James cutout carbs, dairy and sugar for 67 days. The not-quite-paleo diet did, however, include a great deal of super foods (like kale).
10. James’ reputed photographic memory makes him a formidable opponent both on court and in the virtual world — his childhood friends recall finding it impossible to beat him in video-game play.
Launching on Christmas Day, the campaign aims to engage fans during a period when basketball is the dominant US sport and when young fans are likely to be reasonably inactive during the holidays.
The success of this personality driven initiative – illustrated by 3,934,496 YouTube views in the usually quiet holiday week after Christmas Day – is founded on the current resurgence of the NBA’s popularity.
The 2015 NBA Finals (won by the Golden State Warriors over the Cleveland Cavaliers) gained the highest TV ratings since ABC began broadcasting the series in 2002 (the average overnight rating of 13.9 for the six-game series made it the most-watched Finals since Michael Jordan’s final championship with the Chicago Bulls in 1998).
Of course, the TV figures aren’t all great or comparatively positive and they are more complex to digest than ever before with so much fragmentation and so many formats to take into account (not just the ABC/TNT/ESPN split, but also the league huge social reach and its League Pass packages).
But this is a great period to be an NBA fan: not just because there are so many outstanding and skilful star players, but also because these leading lights display their greatness in dramatically different ways.
They showcase the rich diversity of the sport’s excellence.
Nike’s initiative is built on this underlying truth.
Indeed, the sports apparel giant’s push is not just timely because of the NBA’s Christmas Day dominance, but it leverages the fact that basketball is currently undergoing something of a renaissance – largely driven by the return to distinct personalities who play with vibrant styles that mix individual skill sets with character originality.
In this current, bold NBA era, interest in the diverse on-court triumphs of the league’s leading players is further elevated by the athlete’s personality and off-court interests.
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