SPORTS ON TAP
Even when the world as we know it seems so distant, the world of sports is alive and well.
Champions are still throwing touchdowns,
Buzzer-beaters are still winning games,
Fans are still fans,
Legends are still legends.
And in the world of sports, nothing goes deeper than the ESPN App.
This campaign brings together all the energy and excitement of live sports, fan-favorite ESPN hosts, and the electricity of rapper and cultural phenom Chika.
Early results as measured by app downloads are dramatically exceeding ESPN’s target.
They Will Know Your Name
Over the last 20 years, the NBA 2K franchise has steadily built a loyal following of sports gamers, edging out more well-funded competitors. They began to reach a saturation point among their core audience and draw more casual gamers and basketball fans into the franchise while strengthening their core. With the introduction of a new open-world concept called “The Neighborhood,” NBA 2K finally stepped outside the confines of the basketball court. Our challenge was to help the brand take a similar step—from basketball icon to cultural icon.
The moment our campaign dropped, it permeated popular culture and was featured on NBA TV, FS1, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, The Washington Post, the New York Times, Forbes, and HypeBeast, among many others. Bleacher Report was inspired to create a mock cover inspired by J.R. Smith’s Finals blunder, which helped turn the cover artwork into a meme that made its way through the internet. And, 2K19 drove franchise sales to an all-time high.
Welcome To The Next
NBA 2K isn’t just a basketball game—it’s a platform for gamers, hoopers, and tastemakers to come together and create what’s next in culture. Our challenge was to rise above the video game category to put the 2K franchise at the center of basketball and popular culture.
Basketball gets interesting when you realize that it’s where culture collides—unlike many other sports. It influences everything from fashion to music to art. It’s where “what’s next” is always on display and not just for the game.
For NBA 2K20, we created a campaign that featured an array of next-makers who are currently crafting culture. Starting with cover athletes Anthony Davis (possibly the next NBA champion) and Dwyane Wade (the next NBA legend), we created game covers that told their stories through Easter eggs from their past and future.
Friends + Football = Fantasy Football
ESPN struggled with getting new sign-ups in their fantasy football leagues because of the perceived complexity of starting a league, drafting players, and successfully managing a team. Our job was to convince them otherwise. Oh yeah… and do it in :06 seconds, on tiny screens, with no sound, and in record time. Simple. Right?
We launched eight pieces of content built for mobile but robust enough for broadcast, leading to the most fantasy football sign-ups in ESPN history. BSSP + ESPN = #WINNIN. We helped exceed sign-ups by +10% in a stagnant market.
Defy Labels – Olympics
For over 15 years, MINI grew its brand on the back of being a countercultural underdog—a cheeky rebel that took on the traditional, often boring, and predictable aspects of U.S. car culture. Those efforts helped the brand build a strong community and generate reasonably healthy sales. To take it to the next level, however, the brand needed to grow up. MINI was set to debut the new MINI Clubman, the largest and most expensive MINI ever, but research conducted with premium car buyers revealed the brand was not even on their radar. Based on old baggage and misperceptions, these buyers didn’t see MINI as a car “for them.” We launched this spot during the Super Bowl and in the Summer Olympics to help change perceptions. The Washington Post called the effort “a masterpiece.”
A few years ago, we helped DraftKings introduce Daily Fantasy Sports into sports fans’ lives around the country. This was a new concept, and we needed to differentiate ourselves from Fantasy Football, which was the dominant practice among NFL fans during the season. In just six weeks, we produced 10 commercials to help launch this new gaming concept. The work exceeded all sign-up measures, and DraftKings has since become the number one player in the space.
For the Love of Golf
FootJoy has long been the #1 shoe in golf. Since 1917, to be exact. However, despite their permanent place atop the golf shoe leaderboard, FootJoy had a perception problem: the brand wasn’t getting the same credit for their shoes’ leadership. Not to mention that they’re continually up against the likes of massive footwear brands with deep production pockets and the most famous names in sports to wear their product. We needed to shift brand perception by re-energizing FootJoy and making it relevant for today. With the help of some of the most impressive players on tour, we launched For the Love of Golf and a new, updated point-of-view for the FootJoy brand.
NBA 2K has amassed a tremendous amount of data on how their users engage with basketball on their platform globally. In a tactical effort to encourage usage among lighter gamers, we used data from the global community—how many times LeBron will dunk on the platform in a 15-second time period, and how many three-pointers will be drained in the same time period—to demonstrate the power and breadth of the NBA 2K community of gamers. We produced 10 of these spots from existing game footage.
People can’t stand their mobile contracts. Why? Because they hold us back from doing the things we love most—getting on with our lives and having some adventures. We leaned into this insight and employed a famous former NFL player who was doing just fine without a current contract. In fact, he was living his best life without one and encouraged others to do the same. Our Tim Tebow story was a major hit around the country when it launched during the Super Bowl and was part of the “Did you see that Super Bowl spot?” conversation on every major social channel in the weeks to follow.
For NBA 2K 2018, we created a sub-campaign to highlight a new game feature called My Team, where a player can build their own team of players from any era. We used retired NBA Hall of Fame great Kevin Garnett and comedian Michael Rapaport to demonstrate how Kevin, in his quiet retirement, can get back into the game he deeply loves, with NBA 2K.
Stay in the Game
Most gamers play NBA 2K via their consoles or online. We created a campaign to demonstrate that this engaging sports entertainment franchise can be played on multiple devices, including your mobile phone. This effort was targeted to younger, active gamers who are frequently on the go. We wanted to show them that their favorite game is always in hand.