SpikeDDB Nets TNT’s NBA Media Blitz

NEW YORK Turner Network Television (TNT) said Wednesday that it will launch later this month the “most comprehensive and aggressive” ad campaign in Turner’s 20-year history of broadcasting National Basketball Association games to support its coverage of the 2003-04 season.

The effort, “Let the truth be told,” via Spike Lee’s SpikeDDB, New York, will be anchored by TV spots directed by Lee and featuring such players as Shaquille O’Neal, Ben Wallace, Jason Kidd and 2003 NBA No. 1 draft pick LeBron James. The spots will also include TNT’s studio team of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Magic Johnson. The campaign was called a “multimillion dollar” effort by TNT. The first spot is scheduled to break Sept. 29.

The spots, which begin shooting in New York on Thursday, will parody well-known nursery rhymes, with the NBA players in unique settings alongside children ages 8-11, “who deliver undeniable basketball truths about the upcoming season,” per TNT. Support includes on-air and cross-channel support on the TBS family of networks, spot cable, national and regional print, outdoor, spot radio and promotions in key markets, in-theater screens, direct mail and online marketing, including a presence on AOL.

“This is a fully integrated campaign that aggressively promotes TNT NBA Opening Night (Tuesday, Oct. 28) and TNT NBA Thursdays,” Jeff Gregor, senior vice president of marketing and programming for TNT and TBS Superstation, said in a statement. “We expect to create and introduce various extensions of the campaign promotionally and in our telecast as the season progresses. It is truly an exciting campaign that has legs.”