The NBA has launched its first major, integrated campaign aimed at marketing the National Basketball League to kids. The effort, which is being executed via a deal with Cartoon Network and youth-marketing agency The Geppetto Group is called "Hoop Troop."
As an extension of the NBA's joint venture with Turner Sports, NBAHoopTroop.com will include a mix of video, original programming, and kid-friendly versions of scores, and standings. It also includes online interactive games, features, a membership component, and other league and partner content that will be produced by and accessible on Cartoonnetwork.com.
The league's partnership with the Cartoon Network involves a Sunday program called "Run It Back," a one-hour cut-down version of one of TNT's Thursday games with pop-up graphics, trivia, and interstitials.
Kids who go to NBAhooptroop.com can redeem points from watching videos, and playing games or attending NBA events, and playing basketball to create a personalized "NBA Amazing Arena." The arena is a fantastical digital basketball game.
The NBA is supporting the program with its first advertising campaign targeting kids supporting a spring promotion called "Shot Clock Shopping Spree." The national promotion, launching at NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by Adidas offers three grand-prize winners a shopping spree at the New York City NBA store with an NBA player on tow as a shopping coach.
Brian Flinn, SVP of marketing at the NBA, tells Marketing Daily that the campaign, in terms of its size and scope, is a first for the League. "This isn't the fist time we have done marketing programs to connect with kids but it is the first time we have had an umbrella campaign that covers a variety of touchpoints," he says.
"Basketball is the number-one team sport played by kids so there's an enormous opportunity to build on that interest and connect it to the NBA. Just because you play basketball doesn't mean you are an NBA fan. We have done a lot of our own research on this space and we know that if you can connect with a child at an early age they are much more likely to be passionate when they grow up."
Flinn says Hoop Troop program will be ongoing and that there will be activation this summer, for instance, connected to the WNBA.