2021 NBA Finals
A major event on the world sporting calendar, the NBA Playoffs and Finals are considered a tentpole event for ESPN. While avid basketball fans will religiously tune in to watch every minute of the action, the biggest challenge in marketing the NBA finals is broadening the appeal of the series to a wider audience.
The NBA Playoffs therefore presents the opportunity to introduce a broader spectrum of casual sports fans to the culture and storylines of the game. And in turn, provides ESPN with the chance to convert casual fans to sign up to the ESPN on Kayo streaming service.
To celebrate the 2021 NBA Finals on ESPN on Kayo, Now We Collide commissioned some of the biggest names in Australia’s street and fine art scene to create six NBA masterpieces, immortalising basketball’s biggest superstars 'In The Paint’. The artists were carfully selected based on their individual style and aesthetic, their genuine passion for the game and their social media presence.
The campaign was gradually teased out across social channels in the lead up to the first game of the Playoffs, with bespoke Player Reveal carousels and Instagram Stories designed to build hype around which players would be featured as part of the campaign. These posts gave ESPN the opportunity to develop a variety of player driven narratives that were leading into the finals series. The players featured included the biggest names in the NBA, with household names like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, alongside home-grown Aussie legends Ben Simmons and Joe Ingles.
Both ESPN and Kayo then pushed ‘Artist Reveal’ and ‘Work in Progress’ content, including vertical video, across digital and social media channels, with each of the six featured artists documenting their progress in the lead up to the first game of the Playoffs.
Local artists included Kentaro Yoshida, Sarah McCloskey, Leif Podhajsky, James Jirat Patradoon, Andrew Archer and Archibald Prize finalist Scott Marsh. This roster of high profile artists, enabled ESPN, Kayo and the NBA to speak to both the avid sports fan and to a wider demographic of Aussies interested in street art, culture and sport.
Kurt Toohey, Now We Collide Creative Director believes the success of the campaign was built on the opportunity to work with a diverse range of Australian artistic talent.
“This campaign gave us the rare chance to work with an incredible roster of Aussie artistic talent and combine each of their unique visual styles with the game’s biggest superstars. While working with such a varied aesthetic can have its challenges, when you see the final artworks all together in an OOH environment it immediately stops you in your tracks.”
The gradual seeding of content was pivotal in generating hype around the campaign, working to build a crescendo to the final reveal of artworks which landed right in time for the first tip-off of the NBA playoffs.
The final reveal of artworks featured on digital, social and out of home media. The campaign brought NBA heroes such as Lebron James and Joe Ingles to motorways and city skylines, as artworks featured as national placements in digital OOH locations.
Alongside out of home placements, Now We Collide commissioned a street mural to be created in Bondi, Sydney. Located in a prime position to leverage high foot traffic, the mural became a catalyst for additional social content created by Kayo’s roster of influencers and sports stars.
The artwork reveals were further boosted with a paid content startegy across Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, the artworks even shared on by Australia’s biggest basketball names including Aussie Boomer Joe Ingles.
Mark Porter, ESPN ANZ Marketing Manager believes the quality of artwork was a key driver to the success of the campaign.
"This year, with two big name Aussies (Joe Ingles and Ben Simmons) competing, we wanted to try something different and align more closely with the culture, creativity and love of the game. Each of the artists we are working with have a passion for the game and I think this shines through in the artworks created."
Executive Producer Keir Maher
Executive Creative Director Ryan Bodger
Creative Director Kurt Toohey
Project Producer Amy Watson
Art Director Tim Barlow
Copywriter Lyndon Christie
Designer Mac Archibald
Join the NWC mailing list
We operate on Indigenous land – always was, is and will be. We acknowledge the traditional custodians and pay respect to elders past, present and future.