Adidas Finds Basketball Game Must Go On

Adidas

Season or no, the shoes still need to be sold.  

With the NBA season already delayed (and unlikely to start anytime soon) thanks to a labor dispute, Adidas is prepping a new marketing campaign featuring last year's league MVP Derrick Rose as it launches his signature shoe, the adiZero Rose 2. Plans for the shoe's debut were made well in advance of the current lockout, although the marketing strategy around it has always been to focus on Rose and his status as a top player recognized around the world.

"We wanted to tell a story of Derrick Rose and ... get you excited about him regardless of where he plays and when he plays," Ryan Morlan, Adidas' global director of brand marketing, tells Marketing Daily. "We wanted to show consumers his speed and his skill in a way that's unforgettable, so we picked a venue that would reflect him as the ultimate bull."

A 60-second commercial from 180LA uses Rose's team, the Chicago Bulls, as a visual metaphor. The spot takes place in a bullfighting arena with Rose playing the part of the bull. As he enters the arena, he crouches as a bull would and eyes the matador suspiciously. Then in a burst of speed (intercut with slow-motion photography), Rose avoids the matador and picadors, basketball in hand, before delivering a monster dunk. The end of the commercial encourages people to "get more d rose" at Adidas' Facebook page.

"We want to start the conversation with broadcast, but [the campaign goes] across the entire marketing mix," Morlan says. "[All the elements] go on the notion of Derrick Rose and we want to sell the content in the way that makes sense. When you move into the digital space it's about rewarding the consumer with the time they spend with that content online."

Indeed, the commercial's online debut (it's currently viewable on YouTube) began through the company's Facebook page, where fans could view the commercial first before Liking it. At 100,000 Likes (a mark hit after only 16 hours), the spot was made available to the general public, Morlan says. The company is also beginning another Facebook promotion, giving fans in Rose's hometown of Chicago the chance to play against him in a game of one-on-one, Morlan says. Adidas will also be offering behind-the-scenes and other special content through its Facebook page.

The ad is currently viewable on YouTube and will make its television debut on Oct. 5 on ESPN programming and NFL broadcasts on CBS, NBC and ESPN. The spot will also air on Cartoon Network, which provides significant bang for the buck with the target audience, Morlan says.

"They are a network programming that has overwhelmingly efficient reach with our target audience," he says.

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