Picks of the Week: February 27, 2017
Gatorade to Become Title Sponsor of NBA Development League
As part of a first-of-its-kind partnership deal, the NBA Development League (or NBA D-League) will be renamed the NBA Gatorade League (or NBA G-League), marking the first time a U.S. professional sports league has named an entitlement partner. As part of the partnership, Gatorade will collaborate with the NBA G-League to pilot new programs and products aimed to enhance player performance and recovery. Since its formation in 2001, the NBA Development League has been a testing ground for the NBA, and has since grown from 8 teams to as many as 22 teams, each with a direct NBA-affiliate. The partnership marks a major step for the NBA and its affiliate league. As highlighted in a YouTube video released by the NBA, the G-League will now have access to Gatorade’s Sports Science Institute, a leading research facility in the area of sport performance. In recent years, emerging sports drink brands, including Biosteel and Coco5, have leveraged sponsorship in an attempt to raise brand awareness. For Gatorade, the multi-year partnership with the NBA and NBA G-League reaffirms the brands position as an industry leader in the highly competitive sports beverage category.
Aaron Gordon Uses Intel Drone during Verizon Slam Dunk Contest
During this year’s Verizon Slam Dunk competition, defending champion Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic dunked a basketball dropped from an AscTec Neo Drone, made by Intel. This is not the first time that an Intel drone has been featured during a peak awareness sporting event. Earlier this month, Intel drones were used during Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Halftime performance. The drones were arranged to appear as an American flag, the Pepsi logo, and finally, Intel’s logo. During Gordon’s dunk, which was controlled by Gordon himself, announcer Kevin Harlan proclaimed, “There it is! The Intel drone!” This was not the first time sponsor product placement had been incorporated into the Slam Dunk Competition. In 2011, Blake Griffin dunked over a Kia car. This year, Intel was able to demonstrate one of its products with an athlete that would have the most attention due to last year’s winning performance. The placement also demonstrated Intel’s continuing commitment to taking a more aggressive approach with marketing, as they have been associated with two highly publicized sporting events in the last month.
Pepsi Announces Plans for Uncle Drew Movie
This week, Pepsi announced it will be developing a script for a full-length feature film based on their Uncle Drew campaign. The campaign features NBA all-star Kyrie Irving disguised as Uncle Drew. Since its debut during the 2012 NBA Finals, the ads have gone viral, gaining more than 80 million views on YouTube and have featured NBA players Kevin Love, Nate Robinson, Baron Davis and Ray Allen. The idea for a feature film was conceived by the PepsiCo’s Creators League unit. The company formally launched the unit last year to serve as an internal production arm for scripted series, films, music recordings, reality shows and other content distributed for television and online viewing and services. Creators League is partnering with Hollywood production company Temple Hill Entertainment, but no target release date has been announced. New Uncle Drew short videos will continue to be released throughout the remainder of the NBA season. Pepsi has continued to find inventive ways to leverage a long-running campaign in order to keep it fresh and different. The movie idea continues to evolve the original campaign, and could prove valuable in building the “Uncle Drew” brand that they created.
Enterprise Releases “The Road through Warroad: HockeyTown USA” Documentary
A small town in Minnesota, Warroad, is considered by many to be “HockeyTown, USA” and with a recent campaign by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, more people may be aware of that. Enterprise released a 30 minute documentary called “The Road through Warroad: HockeyTown USA” that aired during Hockey Day in America. Warroad is a town of 1,700 people in Northern Minnesota, and home to NHLers Brock Nelson and T.J. Oshie. Warroad also has the distinction of producing a player on every USA Olympic winning team. This campaign signals a shift for Enterprise from conventional branding assets towards an emphasis on custom content to enhance its sponsorship investment. With increased competition from car sharing services such as Car2Go and ride-hailing services like Uber, Enterprise has evolved its approach and offerings. Over the past couple of years, Enterprise has also started their own car-sharing service and has even started selling cars. With Enterprise already an official sponsor of the NHL for the past seven years, they are able to leverage and deepen their connection to the sport - telling a differentiated story focused on grassroots and development hockey.