The basketball stars will calmly tell parking valets how to park cars and concession-stand operators how to pour drinks in promotional TV spots breaking Nov. 2, the start of the National Basketball Association's 1999-2000 season. In one, Utah Jazz star forward Karl Malone teaches team mascots the fundamentals of entertaining the crowd.
The campaign, from NBA Entertainment's Advertising Group, Secaucus, N.J., will air on the league's TV partners NBC and Turner Broadcasting System, as well as on ESPN, ESPN2, DirecTV, Viewer's Choice pay-per-view network, a number of regional sports networks and Turner's Airport Channel. Six to 10 spots will be produced overall.
"Basically the whole idea is to build up good will with the players-to make the NBA experience good for everybody," said Scott Weinstock, VP-senior creative director at NBA Entertainment.
Poking fun at players is just how the NBA wants it this season. The league is coming off a lockout-shortened season that, at least initially, irked fans. Last year, NBA Entertainment altered its now 10-year-old marketing theme to "I Still Love This Game!"-a reference, in part, to fans' mixed feelings toward players and teams as a result of the lockout.
NBA Entertainment also will be producing a series of other TV spots throughout the course of the year for other league businesses. At the start of the season, it will air spots promoting the new 24-hour satellite TV network, NBA.com TV, and the Web site itself. The commercials will contain the best plays of the week as well as exclusive footage of game action.
For its NBA Store in New York , a commercial will run locally this month, going national in December.
For its recently opened NBA City restaurant in Orlando, a spot will air on cable network TBS Dec. 29, during its coverage of the Orlando Magic/Miami Heat game. Also in December, a TV spot will promote NBA 2Ball, local efforts by the league to promote skills by playing two-on-two basketball.
To promote its volunteer initiative, NBA Entertainment is producing a national TV spot featuring ex-NBA star Bob Lanier. He'll be set up as a storyteller in