Google NBA Sponsorship Debut Highlights Real Tone In Pixel Campaign

Google last year became the Official Search Trends Fan Insights Partner and Search Engine for the National Basketball Association (NBA), NBA G League and NBA 2K League, as well as the league’s Official Fan Phone, Pixel, in a multiyear partnership.

This weekend’s NBA All-Star Game kicks off the partnership with two television spots and a campaign that highlight a feature called Real Tone, which brings out the nuances of skin tones.

Camera technology hasn’t historically accurately represented darker skin tones, so as part of Google’s commitment to increase the accuracy of images, creatives at the company collaborated directly with a range of image experts who work with people of color. The outcome, building Real Tone into the Google Pixel 6 mobile phone.

Celebrating the weekend by continuing to shed light on the issue of image equity in camera technology, Google is sponsoring the inaugural HBCU Classic game between Howard University & Morgan State University.

Google and photographer Shaniqwa Jarvis teamed up to produce a fresh take on the classic team photo and headshot, using Real Tone. The company touts the feature as having the ability to accurately represent distinct skin tones and, through the variations, bring out individual personalities.

Jarvis’ portraits will appear across TNT this weekend in new spots debuting during Friday’s Clorox Rising Stars and Sunday’s All-Star Game broadcasts, respectively, in-arena during Saturday’s HBCU Classic and across social media.

The images feature behind-the-scenes content from Jarvis’ HBCU photoshoots as a reminder for fans to tune into Saturday’s HBCU Classic.

On Saturday, during the HBCU Classic, Google Pixel will debut its 30-second spot, featuring additional footage and dialog, where she says “historically, film and even phone cameras were developed for black and brown skin like mine.”

The 30-second spot also runs on Sunday during the 71st NBA All-Star Game.

As part of the agreement with the NBA, Google Search Trends and Insights will serve up in the arena. Fans at each event prior to the game will see videos encouraging them to guess the most searched answer across a number of questions. Emcees will introduce the activation and add color commentary throughout the videos.

The ads running during the NBA games this weekend are a continuation of the Seen On Pixel campaign that launched earlier this month. The company partnered with Lizzo, an American singer, rapper, songwriter and flutist. The ad shows old pictures featuring individuals with dark complexions. They express their frustrations being photographed, the camera always makes them too dark or shiny. The ad for Real Tone shows the capabilities of Google’s Pixel 6 by featuring pictures taken on it of several people throughout key moments in life.

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