Southwest Airlines Sponsors NBA Play-Offs

NEW YORK Southwest Airlines is supporting its position as “The Official Airline of the NBA” with four television spots throughout this week and next.

The commercials, via Omnicom’s GSD&M in Austin, Texas, are airing nationally on TNT to coincide with the National Basketball Association playoffs. One 15- and three 30-second spots pay tongue-in-cheek homage to fans who live and breathe basketball. All include voiceovers by NBA announcer Kevin Harlan and come with the tag, “Maybe it’s better if you just watch.” Campaign spending was not given.

In “Pump,” which broke Saturday, a guy unknowingly puts too much air into his basketball, which promptly explodes when it hits the backboard. Harlan exclaims, “Oh! What a play!” In “Goggles,” which also broke Saturday, an Allen Iverson wannabe trying out moves in his driveway against imaginary defenders takes a shot that sails into the next yard. The voiceover yells, “Did you see that move!”

“Trampoline,” which breaks tomorrow, sees a kid trying to emulate NBA mascots who bounce onto trampolines and then go airborne to slam-dunk their shots. This guy’s ill-timed jump, however, sends him flying over the roof of his house. Harlan shouts, “What an athlete!” “In “Big Shorts,” which breaks April 27, an urban kid showing off his dribbling and crossover moves for two young women crashes into and knocks over a row of garbage cans. The announcer observes, “Mike Smooth!”

Southwest has previously run spots in a similar context to support its sponsorship of the National Football League (“Must be football season”) and the National Hockey League (“Let’s see you do your job on ice.”).