celebrity brandmatch

LeBron James Homecoming is a Slam Dunkin' Donuts for Brand Partners

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 29, 2014 05:21 PM

The return of LeBron James to Cleveland is being trumpeted as "the biggest sports homecoming of this generation" and "the hottest ticket" in the NBA—and has been heralded by the plethora of brands he endorses, including Beats by Dre and Sprite, too.

While some find the story of the two-time NBA champ returning to northern Ohio to bring some victories to his home state uplifting (a new baby girl just sweetening the saga), some critics think the narrative has been driven home one too many times. Fans, however, seem to be on the uplifting end of that spectrum—along with his brand partners.

According to new research from social analytics firm 4C, King James' Ohio comeback has resulted in “huge increases in social engagement between LeBron, the brands he endorses and the Cleveland Cavaliers.”

Led by Dunkin' Donuts, brands have seen the pay-off for signing endorsement deals, with big spikes in social engagement since the superstar made his announcement he's returning to Ohio in July.Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Sprite and Kia Celebrate LeBron James Return With a Pickup Game and Ride

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 27, 2014 03:55 PM

LeBron James has returned to his home state of Ohio for the coming basketball season, and appears to be planning to stay there until he retires. This fact has been driven home so many times that even folks who don’t follow the NBA one iota are likely to know it. 

But Sprite has decided to once again share the story of how the 29-year-old—whose jerseys were burned on the streets of Cleveland only a few short years ago because of his decision to “abandon” the Buckeye State in order to move to Miami and win a few championship rings—is coming home to try and bring the city its first championship in any sport in half a century. 

While Sprite (and Beats by Dre before it) don't mention the burnt jerseys, their ads and mini-docs are all about how, in the end, home is where LeBron's heart is—and the fans are—as King James returns to his hometown.Continue reading...

branded entertainment

Jordan Brand Taps Funny Side of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul for Late-Night TV

Posted by Dale Buss on October 20, 2014 05:28 PM

They've both already demonstrated their commercial chops for a variety of brands. Now NBA stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin want to show off their comedic skills—and Nike's Jordan shoe brand is only too happy to showcase the two pro-basketball all stars. Call it Jordan Branded Entertainment.

The duo are natural funnymen for the brand's first foray into original programming. Paul has made his mark as an endorsement personality in campaigns such as State Farm's separated-at-birth scenario that focuses on "giving assists," while Griffin probably is best known for his work for Kia, including taking a flying leap over a Kia that was blocking him in the paint. Continue reading...

sporting brands

ESPN Replaces NBA RV With Hipsterish Hand-Lettered Campaign for New Season

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 20, 2014 03:40 PM

With the new NBA season tipping off on October 29, ESPN is debuting the first spot of its new brand campaign for NBA on ESPN featuring the tagline “This is Your Game.”

The intent of the campaign is that no matter what you're a fan of, this season there's something for everyone ("from comebacks to redemptions, to rivalries and killer dunks").

Check out the slightly hipsterish, almost-twee (but certainly on-trend) hand-lettered campaign, with more details, below.Continue reading...

branding together

UPS Touts Importance of NCAA Final Four Role in New Video Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on October 8, 2014 06:02 PM

In advance of the start of college-basketball season, UPS—the NCAA’s official logistics and shipping partner—has fielded a new slate of YouTube videos that underscore the important relationship between the logistics company and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The videos (watch below) focus on how UPS helps college basketball and its many suppliers, including small businesses, prepare for the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four each spring, which requires a massive display of logistics expertise and firepower to get the playing venue ready, establish pop-up outlets to sell licensed merchandise, and other tasks.Continue reading...

personal brands

Reclaiming Brand Authenticity, LeBron James is Coming Home

Posted by brandchannel on July 15, 2014 01:03 PM

LeBron James has always been more than an athlete—he’s a brand. The overwhelmingly positive sentiment surrounding the NBA star's decision to return to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers underscores an important truth: a brand's ability to attract customer loyalty, and in turn, maximize earning potential, is not solely the result of a high-quality product, but its ability to communicate authenticity and purpose.

Indeed, while LeBron has spent much of his career as one of the greatest basketball players on Earth, his stature amongst fans has always been intimately tied to his authenticity and purpose. The strength of LeBron’s personal brand at the start of his career was largely due to the authenticity of his narrative. LeBron overcame poverty and an absent father to become the future of his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. He embodied the struggle of the city and the resolve needed to rise above adversity.

In 2008, James released a documentary about his high school basketball team, More than a Game. The documentary depicted how the evolution of his game stems from the evolution of his relationships. It’s his brand positioning: "This is why I care." It was a gripping narrative that fans could feel through every spectacular dunk, emphatic block and signature powder toss. As the title of his documentary suggests, LeBron’s story has always been “More than a Game.”Continue reading...

World Cup Daily

Winner Takes All: No Matter the Outcome, adidas Will Win the World Cup

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 10, 2014 02:22 PM

When Argentina’s Maxi Rodriguez put the final ball into the back of the net at the end of the seemingly endless World Cup semifinal against the Netherlands, there was a lot of celebrating going on across the globe. One place where there was sure to be extra high fives was within the offices of adidas.

The game, along with the other World Cup semifinal between Germany and Brazil, had pitted teams outfitted by adidas against those outfitted by Nike, and in both cases, the adidas-clad team won. Now adidas will have a World Cup final all of its own, featuring the man who has been the centerpiece of its World Cup-related marketing: Argentina’s Lionel Messi.

“Sponsoring the final teams is the grand prize for the apparel brand,” John Kristick, global chief executive officer of ad buying agency GroupM, part of WPP Plc., told Bloomberg. “There will be an immediate sales lift in the winning country, but these teams are football powerhouses—where, win or lose, the support for product sales will remain strong.”Continue reading...

china

China's Li-Ning Sticks to its Roots to Build Consumer Clout Over Nike, Adidas

Posted by Kristen Van Nest on February 28, 2014 11:12 AM

In China, the sporting apparel market is a bit of an anomaly. For one thing, fitness and physical activity in China is a lot less common than in other global markets like the US, Europe and South America. And when Chinese consumers do hit the gym or track, it's usually in their street clothes. 

That presents a unique challenge for both foreign and domestic brands like China's Li-Ning, the oldest and second-largest Chinese sporting goods brand. Facing the relentless competition of Nike, adidas and Under Armour on both its home turf and abroad, Li-Ning has had to adjust its product and growth strategies to focus less on hard-core athletic gear as a free-expression trend continues to grow among China's fashion-savvy youth.Continue reading...

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