T-Mobile Leverages NBA Tie For TV Ads

ChuckRemix

Information travels fast in the Facebook age, and even faster when mobile phones are connected to a 4G network -- at least according to T-Mobile.

Leveraging its position as an official sponsor of the National Basketball Association, T-Mobile enlists commentator and former player Charles Barkley and the Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade for a series of commercials showcasing the video capabilities of T-Mobile's 4G network.

"So much has changed about the fan experience in the 21st century and, everything being instantaneous, we really wanted to use that as being fuel for the campaign," says Steve Williams, a creative director at Publicis Seattle, the agency behind the campaign. "We wanted to give it to a place that T-mobile could own."

In the first of the commercials (directed by Spike Lee), Wade locks himself in a hotel room suite. When he posts a video screaming, "Get me outta here!" to his Facebook account, a modern-day equivalent of telephone erupts, with fans assuming Wade means he wants out of Miami. Various fans and celebrities (including Barkley, consummate Knicks fan Lee and the Phoenix Suns' Steve Nash) try to woo Wade, who is finally released from captivity by a hotel housekeeper, who notes he's on the news.

A second spot depicts commentary by Barkley remixed into a hip-hop song to become a viral sensation after passing through a series of hands that includes players and fans. The spot ends with Barkley groaning as he watches a group of nightclubbers dance to his commentary.

The television commercials will debut during NBA programming on Christmas Day. The company has been an NBA Partner since 2005. Having introduced its advanced 4G network November, the NBA partnership was an ideal way to showcase the ways the network enhances a user's experience, says Melinda McCrocklin, manager of advertising and brand integration for T-Mobile.

"The [NBA effort] demonstrates the power of what 4G can deliver to the handset and to the consumer," says Peter DeLuca, vice president of advertising for T-Mobile. "One of the key insights of NBA fans is they're highly social and they're looking for more than just scores."

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