Archives for category: Cavaliers

I’ve been told that anyone who works in the ad world should be familiar with Luke Sullivan, the advertising veteran/author/SCAD professor/leader of the resistance against Mr. Whipple.

In all of his spare time, Mr. Sullivan writes a blog. One of his most popular posts asks “What is the truest thing you can say about your product or brand?” He advises agencies to answer that question and run with it.

Now, I don’t know if you know about Kevin Durant, but he’s good at basketball. Some people say “Finals MVP” good, but people also said the Earth was flat, and they were wrong—except for Kyrie who, obviously, can say whatever he wants.

Durant is also a very controversial figure since he sold his soul left the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors. ESPN commentators, anyone with a Twitter account, NBA fans, dads across the world; they all have an opinion on this move.

Nike (who, when you think about it, is kind of the Warriors of the athletic gear world) capitalized on Durant’s notoriety with their ad “Debate This,” which ran in the first commercial slot after Game 5 of the Finals when…well, you know.

The ad features a round table of people criticizing Durant for, among other things, being a traitor, for being too soft. They determined he was all-around overrated. But then the Warriors are declared champions and the table goes quiet as the screen flashes to a final card: “Debate this.”

Nike took hold of the narrative and literally silenced the critics. Like Luke advises, they took the truest thing about Kevin Durant this season—his infamy—and shaped their ad around it. It’s bold, but it makes its point.

All that being said: boo Durant, go Cavs.

Rio-Purple-Flip-Hero

The opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics is tonight, but advertisements for the 16-day worldwide competition started many months ago. Every brand, especially the sponsors, is striving to make an impact to one of TV’s largest audiences.

The Olympics is very similar to the Super Bowl because advertisers have a huge TV audience, which drives competition for brand exposure with expensive TV spots. The games dominate primetime for 16 consecutive nights, and brands have to be in the Olympics if they want to reach their consumers in the third quarter. However, advertising to a worldwide audience comes at a very high price. For example, NBC has surpassed $1 billion in national advertising including broadcast, cable and digital sales.

The 2012 London Olympics had a reach of 3.6 billion, and the Rio Olympics are expected to draw an even larger audience with cable, live streaming and even virtual reality programming. Now, you can feel like you are at the games with 360° storytelling without buying an expensive plane ticket (or contracting the Zika virus).

Of all the advertisements that are constantly flooding our screens, the Olympics have some of the most passionate, inspiring and powerful ads that I have ever seen. Each athlete has a personal story of failure and triumph that can easily be tied to a brand to make an emotional impact. These messages, whether funny or serious, resonate with us beyond the worldwide competition.

Below are my three favorite advertisements from the 2016 Rio Olympics.

P&G “Thank You Mom”

procter-and-gamble-thank-you-mom-strong-rio-2016-olympic-games-large-10

This ad is one of the most emotionally relatable commercials that I have ever seen simply because moms are the best. I can’t watch this ad without tearing up because it’s obvious most moms do ANYTHING to help their child achieve their dream. The tagline “It takes someone strong to make someone strong” is powerful and resonates with viewers in a relatable way because moms have been our rock all along.

United “One Journey. Two Teams”

This commercial is more amusing than anything as we all can relate to running through the airport to catch a plane. At least these Olympians make it look graceful while performing their own stunts. I loved how creative the ad was at showing the athletes’ talents to catch a flight in time. The 60-second spot promotes United as the official airline of Team USA for the 2016 Olympics.

Samsung “The Chant”

This commercial hits close to home for me, as I have friends from South Sudan because of my involvement with The Lost Boys of Sudan. They are the kindest people on the planet and they’re finally getting a well-deserved first appearance in the Olympic games. Samsung created a compelling commercial about how much joy the 19-year old runner, Margret Rumat Rumar Hassan, is bringing to the newly independent country. How inspiring is that?

the-chant-hero Margret Rumat Rumar Hassan

All in all, it’s an exciting time of the year for sports fans and advertising enthusiasts, like me. I am most looking forward to for the 2016 Olympics are the commercials (and Kyrie Irving, of course, representing The Land all the way in Rio). While everyone else will be fast-forwarding through commercials, I’ll be paying special attention to those that inspire and impact me like the ones above.

This week, history was made in the Land. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship, ending Cleveland’s 52-year drought and bringing happiness, glory, and 1.3 million people to our city on the lake. I was lucky enough to see the excitement of game seven firsthand. When the buzzer went off in the fourth quarter, the city exploded. It was louder and more intense than anything I’ve ever witnessed: screams, tears, drinks flying, hugging, dancing, shirts waving, and high fives all around. As I walked from my viewing spot to Quicken Loans Arena, chants of “Let’s Go Cavs!” echoed across the streets. This was only the beginning.

On Wednesday, Cleveland hosted the championship parade. The scene downtown during game seven was nothing compared to the parade and rally—bringing an estimated 1.3 million people to a city with a population around 300,000. With fans swarming the streets and blocking the parade routes it took more than five hours for the team to make it through a one-mile parade route to the rally zone near the Convention Center. Confetti sprinkled the famous Cleveland skyline and people scaled buildings and sat outside windows stories high just to get a glimpse of our championship team. It was an extreme outpouring of love for them and the city of Cleveland.

You might be wondering what this has to do with advertising. Cleveland fans spend days allowing this team in their living rooms, bars and restaurants. They watched the team evolve with LeBron, without LeBron, and were there with tears and celebrations for “the return.” As a city, they got so close to the championship they could finally taste it. Their faith was tested. And this week, they rejoiced in celebration after emotionally counting down the minutes waiting for them to succeed or fail during sixteen long games. It’s a great story. It’s a Cleveland story.

And storytelling is essential to advertising. There are many forms of storytelling, but the Cleveland Cavaliers perfectly followed the narrative of The Hero’s Journey. Quickly, the Hero’s Journey begins in the ordinary world with a “call to adventure” (enter the NBA, win your hometown that championship.) What follows is the hero’s “refusal of the call” (I’m taking my talents to South Beach) and eventually a “meeting with a mentor” (The Heat) who provides the hero with training and advice to help them on their journey. Then, they “cross the threshold” (welcome home LeBron) and “find allies and enemies” (love and hate in Cleveland fans). They “prepare for the ordeal” (…twice) and finally take possession of the treasure! (2016 Champions!) The “road back” (flight home from California with Cleveland’s most prized-possession) and the “resurrection” (a moment of rebirth, once again the King of CLE.) Finally, “the return” (not that one), where the hero returns home and has the power to transform the world as we know it (1.3 million people waiting to see LeBron, his team and our trophy.)

1.3 million people arrived to celebrate with this team because they’ve been a part of their story; they’ve watched the 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers brand be built—52 years in the making. They care.

We’ve entered the era of consumer empowerment. Brands need to do more than communicate outwardly to their audience. They need to tell stories, entertain, educate, inspire and touch lives.

The Cavaliers team does an exemplary job at delivering what the audience wants. They give us a great product to watch on the court but extend the story off the court as well. By utilizing social media we have an opportunity to be a part of their lives both on the court and at home. They’ve shown us the celebrations, created inside jokes with us (Lil’ Kev), and let us see the world from their perspective. We get to experience this story through the players’ eyes.

Our involvement allows this Hero’s Journey to resonate with us deeper than most. We’ve invested ourselves in this team, and it’s become a part of us. We felt the anguish watching the buzzer slowly count down, we crowded the streets in celebration as the team flooded the court, and we cried with JR as he gave a heartfelt speech about playing for his family. The emotional rollercoaster is what connects us with this team, and motivates us for the future.

The Cavaliers team has told its story. Through them, we’re encouraged empower ourselves and write our own story. It’s our call to action – show that no matter our struggles, Cleveland is a success story. How will you respond?

 

-0889b6b2adb5db7b

Big thanks to my editor, Kelly Gentile.