We're four months into the NBA lockout with no end in sight, but Nike is reminding viewers, "Basketball Never Stops." The new video campaign, starring LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and Duke men's head coach Mike Krzyzewski, scored 4.2 million views in its first week.
The campaign is an homage to all the places basketball is still being played -- college courts, city parks, at the end of the cul-de-sac -- pretty much everywhere but on the biggest stage of all.
Nike clearly misses the league even if other marketers don't. Since ad spending on NBA broadcasts is concentrated in the second half of the season when ratings start to pick up, most advertisers don't seem to be panicking. But Nike 's fortunes are more tightly intertwined with the league's, since having NBA players sport signature sneakers on the court is a key marketing vehicle for the company.
So is Nike looking to make up some of the difference through video? The timing of the campaign by Wieden + Kennedy and Razorfish to coincide with the first missed games of early November suggest it could be so.
Nike 's basketball business generated $1.9 billion in sales last year, comprising almost 10% of the company's $18.1 billion in revenue, according to the Portland Business Journal. The company is reportedly looking to debut new products during college games if the lockout continues.