advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Friday, April 9, 2010

NBA pushes the envelope once again.

“When you’re talking about guys, it made sports a no-brainer.”

“What we found with basketball is that it seemed to equally appeal to all demographic groups.”

“We’re both organizations rich in tradition and we share a commitment to social responsibility.”

And you sad ad freaks wonder why I stay up late blogging angry. It’s the marketing speak, mostly. So the NBA is reinforcing its street cred by bringing Bacardi Gold into the mix. (Do all demos *really* love rum and hoops?) Many brands have a special cousin in the family who doesn’t get much budget love, but it always amazes me when they push it in a major deal like this instead of their flagship. I assume Bacardi approached the NBA because of sizable audience, so why not bring your... (wait for it)

*A* game.

A no-brainer. Is it? Unlike other sports, the NBA feels like a league that has an identity crisis. On one hand, it secretly wants to embrace its inner street cred, but on the other, it doesn’t want to scare off sponsors. This is different from say, the NFL, which continues to sell major sponsors on the notion that they’re buying into a *family* sport. (Been to game lately? Family is the last thing you think of.) Good luck with a possible work stoppage next year too because they tend to annoy *all* demos.

Speaking of...

All demographic groups. But what a league wants to think its audience is and what brands think it is aren’t always the same. What about women? From a brand perspective here, they *may* say they want to go after guys—what sport doesn’t—but they seem to be ignoring women in the mix. A 25-34 guy demo who watches ESPN and goes to games may be low-hanging fruit, but why abandon an audience that other leagues notice.

A commitment to social responsibility. Leagues need safe personalities. In a post-Jordan ratings-challenged world, Nash, Shaq, Kobe or LeBron have had to do the work. They may like to think they’re embracing sportsmanship et al. but they also need to sell the idea of street to teens here and abroad. Sometimes, it really bites them in the ass when ballers don’t play the part the league wrote for them. If Bacardi was going after a little of that, why mess around with Gangsta Lite 2.0 and instead go after MMA instead?

So to sum up, I think the addition of Bacardi into the marketing mix is a... (wait for it) slam dunk.


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