There’s something unique about pro basketball that sets hoops fans apart from other sports enthusiasts. It’s that melding of athletics, fashion, music, technology and other elements of pop culture that makes NBA All-Star Weekend the new must-visit fan destination—and brand destination, too. At this year’s event, Feb. 15-17, in Charlotte, NC, EM got a firsthand look at what makes basketball fanatics tick, and how brands are catering to this dynamic demographic. Here’s a snapshot of the best picks.
In addition to serving as title sponsor of the All-Star Saturday Night experience, State Farm brought its Home Court activation to the city’s two-story outdoor mall, Epicentre. There, fans could immerse themselves in a locker room experience featuring memorabilia from Chris Paul, James Harden and State Farm “agent” Cole Perez. The items were housed in display cases that doubled as touch screens, offering attendees a chance to learn more about the player and his gear by tapping “hotspots” on the display.
Fans could also test their skills at a classic pop-a-shot game (where it became clear that we’re ready to play for the WNBA) and win prizes like branded arm sleeves. Attendees could also enjoy free non-alcoholic beverages, enter to win autographed memorabilia, participate in an augmented reality-powered photo op with Chris Paul that could be instantly shared to social media and nosh on passed appetizers. State Farm also hosted a PB&J Combination Station at Bleacher Report’s B/R x NC event on Feb. 17, where attendees were served variations of the beloved snack and could take a branded PB&J-themed photo and enjoy the on-site gaming lounge (Agency: The Marketing Arm).
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For a second straight year, Bud activated its Budweiser LIVE platform at NBA All-Star as the title partner and owner of Epicentre’s rooftop venue. The experience included a rotating cast of djs, performances by the likes of French Montana and an expertly branded cash bar (we’re talking Budwiser LIVE-branded light fixtures, bar stools, napkins—you name it) created in partnership with the NBA and serving ice-cold Buds.
There were also classic pop-a-shot games, appearances by NBA legends Dominique Wilkins and Ron Harper and lawn games like cornhole to keep attendees entertained. Bud also capitalized on the prominence of streetwear in basketball culture through a partnership with Under Armour. Together, the brands offered the winners of various on-site raffles a chance to customize a free pair of Under Armour kicks with a variety of accessories (Agency: PMK•BNC).
Underscoring the important role fashion plays for hoops fans, Express took over the …read more