Digital Digest #261: Ain’t no Party Like an All-Star Party

Digital Digest: What Edelman Canada is reading in digital marketing, technology and strategy. Fresh links served up weekly. This edition of Digital Digest was edited by Sarah Botros, Charlotte Macgregor, Matt Beck, Rob Small, Jill Pastirik and Erin Collett.

Toronto experienced a frenzy of promotions and celebrities this past weekend with the NBA All-Star event. Followed by the Grammy’s, it was a star-studded couple of days. How do brands break through the clutter when there’s so much attention focused on celebrities? It can be easy to forget about everything else when we’re trying to snap a selfie with the 6ix god himself. This week’s Digital Digest explores the brands and people invested in timely events, and how their influence shapes viewers’ opinions and actions.

Patch me in, coach
Soccer fans are used to seeing brand logos splashed across the front of team’s jerseys, the only sport that has showcased sponsorship on jerseys — until now. This past weekend at the highly publicized All-Star game in Toronto, the NBA finally branched out, slapping a tiny KIA logo to the left shoulder of All-Star players’ jerseys. But if you think this is about being an NBA exclusive, think again. Branding on jerseys is expected to quickly expand to the other three major North American sports leagues — the NHL, NFL and MLB. You saw this one coming: haters gonna hate. Fans of the plain, unbranded jersey are voicing their complaints already, noting that the league, not exactly starving for cash, is selling out, and that even small logos could lead to cluttered, competitive advertising on otherwise pristine uniforms. It’s a slippery slope — one that represents huge profit potential for the league — and as far as brand adventures go, we’re excited to see where this one is headed. Maybe we’ll see an OVO owl on the next Raptors jersey? [Macleans]

We gon’ be alright
All eyes were on Kendrick Lamar as he took the stage at the Grammy’s this weekend, donning chains and surrounded by jail cells. Kendrick delivered what was deemed by many the best performance of the evening, showcasing that rap can have a huge impact on a community. While a place like Compton, Kendrick’s hometown, is usually associated with crime, it’s interesting how artists like NWA and Kendrick Lamar have used their influence and fame to create a different image of the city. With the help of the Grammy’s, Kendrick introduced his short film, Witness Greatness. This film showcases that hard work pays off, and that where you come from isn’t who you are. This gives neighborhoods all over America the opportunity and positivity to strive for their own greatness, despite what they’re starting with. Bobbing our heads to ‘Alright’ and tipping our hat to you, Kendrick. [Youtube]

The king of the court doesn’t always wear a crown
While many brands got caught up in the NBA All-Star weekend’s fancy parties and high priced events, Sport Check chose a different a route and kept its brand on the grass roots level. The retailer leveraged the weekend to launch its national #WeGotNow campaign, which included a surprise basketball give away, paired with an online video. The clip hints at the All-Star weekend, but doesn’t mention the NBA. Instead, it highlights the average Canadian b-baller and the culture that Canadian players relate to. Recalling memories of the “six hour drive to play 48 minutes” and having the “janitor letting you practice after the practice,” the digital spot reminds us why we love the game. And to complement the clip, Sport Check surprised many Torontonians by placing 1,891 free basketballs around Toronto, reminding us that we don’t need a $4,000 platinum ticket to see a big game. We would expect this type of campaign promoting hockey — you know, the ad showing kids playing hockey on a frozen pond — but Sport Chek gets it. Canadians sport preferences are shifting — we’re proud of more than just the good ol’ hockey game. [Marketing Magazine]

More than just a game
Shopify decided it wanted to do more than just bring All-Stars to the city — it also wanted to bring culture. Known for its e-commerce capabilities, Shopify launched a series of pop-up shops, art exhibitions and speaker series based on hip-hop photography and basketball culture. One of the exhibits resembled a 1980’s/90’s hip-hop fan’s bedroom with pictures of Notorious B.I.G and Jay Z. For those who felt inspired, the entire installation was shoppable — think Pinterest, IRL. While some of its pop-ups were more exclusive, only available to the players at the Thompson, the rest allowed the city to experience the passion behind the sport and be just like Mike. Shopify showed us that when you look beyond the confines of your business model and create a novel, authentic and fun experience for your consumers, you can score a slam dunk (#dadjoke). [Marketing Magazine] Shopify is a competitor to Edelman client, eBay.

Tech updates:

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