Both Axe and Foot Locker are hoping this week’s NBA Draft generates plenty of brand buzz, as basketball fans get ready for the big event.
Foot Locker, in a joint promotion with Under Armour’s basketball division, has enlisted top-NBA Draft prospect Emmanuel Mudiay in a campaign called "Life Changes After the Draft.” The four 15-second spots, created by BBDO, spoof how much can change in a single day: In one “Before the draft” scene, for example, he gives his mom a bouquet of fruit for her birthday; in the “After the draft” follow-up, he buys her a house. In another, he introduces his brother as J-Mike. “After the draft,” he becomes “brand manager and head of business development.” In each of the ads, Mudiay wears Under Armour player-edition ClutchFit Drive Low sneakers.
And UnderArmour is also promoting its connection to Mudiay on YouTube, airing an inspiring spot called “Don’t cheat the grind,” which traces the young athlete’s unlikely path to Brooklyn, from the Congo to Texas to China.
The ads are running on digital channels, and are scheduled to air on ESPN during the first round of the NBA Draft presented by State Farm. (For the third year straight, the event is hosted by the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, home to the Brooklyn Nets.)
Unilever’s Axe is also jumping into the game to promote its White Label line, prepping Duke University’s Justise Winslow—also predicted to go high in the first round—for his big media moment. But the brand isn’t just answering style questions: It’s handing its Twitter account over to Winslow, as well as fellow draftees Stanley Johnson (Arizona) and Devin Booker (Kentucky) in a #NBADraftTakeover on Twitter.