The Charlotte Bobcats Welcome the Competition

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Charlotte Bobcats "Airport"
The Charlotte Hornets have moved to New Orleans, and Charlotte has a new expansion franchise -- the Charlotte Bobcats. The 'Cats aren't expected to be very good, however, so the team's first TV campaign -- created by agency Boone/Oakley -- focuses on players from other teams. Represented by cardboard cutouts, players like Yao Ming and Shaquille O'Neal are welcomed to town by the Bobcats "Ambassador" who does his best to make them feel comfortable, although things never quite work out. Cardboard Shaq falls onto a grill, for example, while cardboard Yao gets all folded up in a yoga class.

It's unclear, however, how long the slapstick campaign -- directed by a team known as Mortimer Jones via Charlotte's Boulevard Films -- will last following last week's near riot at an NBA game between the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers. "I still think the spots are funny," says agency co-founder David Oakley, who reports that the client is currently reviewing "everything," from advertising to security measures. "But it's just a little bit different environment now. Everything's a little more sensitive than it was."

As for working with such stiff actors, Oakley gives the thumbs up to cardboard Kobe Bryant, which gets taken out for a little water-skiing. Oakley says that although he only expected the cutout to stay upright for a few seconds, it managed to stay up behind the boat for several minutes. "He skied much further than I ever would have," Oakley confesses.

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