Basketball Is A ‘Whole New Game’ In NBA Restart Campaign By New Agency Cartwright

American actress, writer and producer Issa Rae fronts a new NBA campaign celebrating the league’s restart.


The initiative is led by a hero commercial campaign, which will be followed by three further spots rolling out through the restarted season, airing on national television, digital and social platforms and the campaign is also integrated across the NBA’s new Disney campus in Orlando Florida.


The NBA’s return to action ad seeks to puts the state of the world into perspective and opens with Issa Rae in an empty arena pondering pivotal moments from last season before sneakily inserting herself into some of the key scenes (with the assistance of some smart post production).


“It’s the game you love like you’ve never seen it before,” says Rae. “22 teams all in one place ready to make history. This isn’t the same NBA, it’s a whole new game. But I think we can all agree, we’re glad it’s back.”


The objective of the campaign is to get NBA fans to reconnect with a reworked state of the sport they love.



Reflecting the global nature of the league and the diversity of its fan base, the ad comes in at least 10 different language versions including Mandarin, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai.


The spot was helmed by Rattling Stick director Ringan Ledwidge and conceived and created by new agency Cartwright.




The 2019-20 NBA season restarts from 30 July and will look quite different from the earlier stretch of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic: there will be no fans present at any of the games (all of which will be played in Orlando as part of a ‘bio bubble’ formed at the NBA’s Walk Disney World campus).


This is the first NBA work from the recently launched Cartwright agency led by former 72andSunny ECD Keith Cartwright and backed by WPP.


Nevertheless, it follows in the strategic and creative footsteps laid down by the NBA’s ‘This Is Why We Play’ brand refresh initiative developed by agency Translation (see case study).











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