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rob b. said on May 20th, 2009 at 9:30 am

I think regardless if they focus on two peticular players that it’s not risky at all. (Depending on which two!) We are talking Kobe & LeBron now. These guys are at the top of there game. And if they don’t make the finals Vitamin Water will not pull the plug on there marketing stradegy. That would be insane.

That’s like saying M. Jordan didn’t make the playoffs so Nike would pull out?!?

Kobe & LeBron are the next generation of sports marketing in basketball, and have been for a while. And they will continue to be as long as they stay healthy!

Ed said on May 20th, 2009 at 10:21 am

I agree w/ Rob B.’s posting. Kobe and LeBron are the undisputed top two in the game (sorry D. Wade) and will be for a few more years. They are the last two MVPs and will be two of the most marketable players in the game – have you heard the two of them speak on camera? Kobe is well spoken, making him more reliable to relay messages but LeBron’s flair provides a sports drink maker’s dream.

This campaign will not be a “Dan versus Dave” debacle circa 1992 if Kobe or LeBron don’t make the finals.

Stephen Spiewak said on May 20th, 2009 at 10:37 am

I agree with the general consensus above. I think LBJ vs. Kobe is a great angle irrespective of what’s going on with the Finals. However, if they face each other, I think it’s an even greater win for Vitamin Water.

Good post.


Russell Scibetti said on May 20th, 2009 at 10:48 am

I like your comments! Clearly, choosing LeBron and Kobe is about as close to “foolproof” as you can get. However, they aren’t just promoting Kobe and LeBron – they are promoting Kobe VS. LeBron. So does the campaign lose a little luster if they don’t actually face each other in the finals?

Maybe a better way of looking at this is, how much more could this campaign take off if they do play in the finals? If you do think it will grow, then they could lose out on this “increased potential” if one of them loses.

Emmett Jones said on May 20th, 2009 at 1:43 pm

I think the campaign may get a small boost if they face each other in the finals, but the argument is greater than the finals itself; its “who is the better player”. That point will be argued long after this season even if they play each other in the finals.

Using that same logic, I think the campaign is still effective even if one or both get eliminated in the conference finals. In part because this argument has been going on for a few years now (back when the Cavs weren’t as competitive), its just that there is now a commercial to represent it.

(aside: T-Mobile seems to have no problem with their D-Wade ads, even with D-Wade already eliminated, and those are pretty good commercials)

Derek Boyle said on May 20th, 2009 at 2:06 pm

One big question that can answer this for us depends on their budget and contract with each player. By that I mean, how many times are they allowed to shoot both Kobe and Lebron in commercials. Did they waste a whole shoot from their contracts with both players on this spot? Surely they have an internal plan on whether they keep running this spot or not if either don’t make the finals. I would say it’s not too risky to focus on certain players if they have the contractual ability to change it should one or both be eliminated.

Personally i think it wouldn’t be worth running if either is eliminated. It’s sort of like seeing a commercial for an event that has already passed. But the upside is so great that if they can take that risk, it’s worth it.

I’m willing to bet they already have a new spot ready to air should this be the case.

Jason Peck said on May 20th, 2009 at 4:03 pm

One of the more interesting things to me here is that they’re driving people to their Facebook page with TV commercials. When I first noticed this a little over a month ago I couldn’t understand it-they didn’t have anything unique/exciting on their page. It’s good to see that this has changed and what they’re doing actually makes some sense now.

Carson McKee said on May 21st, 2009 at 9:44 am

Agreed – Kobe and LeBron are pure bank. The finals would simply be a bonus. And I agree with Jason Peck about the social media angle as well.

Sometimes it all backfires – like a Gatorade commercial featuring Rafer Alston when he was a Raptor that never made it to air because of his trade…

Dino Gomez, The Intern said on May 21st, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Vitamin Water is covered. Although they would prefer to have Lebron vs. Kobe in the finals, they do already have Dwight Howard on their team. In other words if Lebron’s team goes down, insert the charismatic Dwight Howard into the mix. Problem solved or maybe even better since fans have seen a lot of Kobe and Lebron commercials recently.

Jamie Favreau said on May 22nd, 2009 at 1:07 am

I am thinking this isn’t a risky call. They want to see what one proven Championship star can do and what an up and comer (LeBron) can do. So basically it is a NBA star power commercial. Though I think the NBA wants that match up. I am hoping for maybe a Cleveland v Denver myself. I am NOT a fan though I have just worked in arenas for the past 6 years.