Mavs Have Agency But No Game

The Dallas Mavericks have selected DDB Needham here to front a new image campaign for the National Basketball Association team–if and when the lockout that threatens the league’s 1998-99 season ever gets resolved.
DDB Needham has been tapped to handle increased broadcast assignments, estimated at $1 million-plus, as well as print and outdoor advertising for the Mavs. The agency has already produced television commercials that will air when the lockout ends with the proposed theme, “Winning you over. One fan at a time.”
Mavericks president and chief executive officer Terdema Ussery said the team held discussions with an undisclosed number of Dallas-area shops but were eventually drawn to DDB’s presentation and solid creative reputation. “And they have a real, intuitive passion for sports,” he said.
The agency handled the first image campaign for NCAA Football in 1997. In addition, chief creative officer Jim Ferguson has previously developed commercials for McDonald’s featuring top pro athletes.
Last year, the Mavericks repositioned advertising behind some of their key players like forward Michael Finley and center Shawn Bradley. In previous years, the sparsely talented team was mainly trying to lure fans with the promise of seeing the NBA superstars on visiting squads.
Advertising messages produced by The Richards Group unit Pyro in Dallas were geared directly at the youth market. Ussery said the forthcoming work from DDB Needham will be more mainstream in nature.
“I think one or our biggest challenges is to get name visibility . . . for our players,” said Ussery. “There has been a lot of transition here.”
Ussery said the franchise plans to use “significantly less” outdoor placements in favor of more radio and television buys. In October, the Mavericks awarded its media planning and buying to MediaWise, a unit of Gleason Calise Associates in Dallas.