NBA Launches Black History Month Campaign | Adweek
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NBA Dreams Big for Black History Month

Campaign includes ads with Chris Bosh, Roy Hibbert

The ads incorporate players, but the messages transcend sports.

Excellence and inspiration are the recurring themes behind the NBA's efforts to celebrate Black History Month that begin next week.

The push includes ads from GlobalHue that star the Miami Heat's Chris Bosh and the Indiana Pacers' Roy Hibbert, the first of which (scroll down to watch it) breaks Monday during telecasts of games being played on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The tagline is, "Dream big."

That tag will also appear on T-shirts that players will wear during warmups and on the bench along with another shirt—which the Heat's Ray Allen helped design—that bears the moniker "#NBABHM."

In addition, the league, via EverFi, will distribute digital education materials on the history of African Americans to schools in 30 cities. Finally, the NBA is planning a series of Black History Month-themed events around its All-Star Game, which will take place Feb. 16 in New Orleans.

While the ads incorporate players, the messages in them transcend sports. The Bosh ad, for example, directed by The Academy's Zia Mohajerjasbi, uses African American non-sporting professionals—U.S. District Court judge Eric Hendon, Dr. Yvonne Turner Johnson and photographer Gary James—to illustrate a broader goal of high achievement.

As the voiceover explains (amid footage of James at work), "Not every artist performs in front of the cameras. But all of us can dream big." The ad ends with an image of Bosh and his family seated on a waterfront dock.

The second ad takes a humorous approach, placing the 7-foot-2-inch tall Hibbert awkwardly in an elementary school, where students repeatedly outperform him—except on the basketball court. That ad ends with students expressingly a desire to be an astronaut or veterinarian, while Hibbert simply says, "I want to win an NBA championship."

The executions are "all about inspiration and encouraging fans—young, old—to dream," said Saskia Sorrosa, vp of multicultural/targeted marketing at the NBA in New York.

"In the Chris Bosh spot, we had real people ... who had accomplished their dreams in life because we really wanted that message to be authentic," Sorrosa added. "And the Roy Hibbert [ad] will follow that same premise, which is all about what do you dream about and how are you going to follow your dreams?"

Sorrosa declined to discuss media spending behind this year's Black History Month campaign. But the multifaceted effort is among the biggest that the NBA has ever undertaken for the month.

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