NBA Plays to Fill the Streets
I love this time of year! March Madness was epic and while the NBA playoffs aren’t as exciting, they’re still fun! I remember the spring of 2004, when the Pistons beat the Lakers and the big ad was the Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get it Started (NBA Remix).” Well, ads have come a long way, but the feeling is still the same. Let’s get it started!
The NBA, with the ad agency Translation, aimed to produce excitement for the 2018 playoffs by showing the potential of desolate, lonely streets in “Streets”, the most recent ad in its “This Is Why We Play” platform. When the words “It’s the NBA playoffs …” were uttered, the ad cuts from abandoned roadways to highlights of All-Star basketball then back to empty streets until the words “to see which one [city] will celebrate” were heard. It then cut to championship parades and streets packed with fans, closing on the NBA’s “This is Why We Play” logo. It’s a simple, effective ad packed full of energy!
These were the plays this ad scored on…
1. Opening Shot – A beaut’! It hooked me from the start even though I had no idea where it was going. It was a wide, establishing shot of an empty road sometime in the early morning. There was a great haze or mist in the distance and the slow ease in by the camera added an otherworldly feel. The subsequent shots of streets (intercut with game highlights) were filmed in the same manner and each time it felt as if I was being taken somewhere, but I had no idea where … until that final cut.
2. Pacing and Editing – It was done to great effect. It bounced back from slow; ease in wide shots of abandoned city streets to fast paced game highlights from some of the NBA’s biggest stars. This created a stop and start feel that could have easily gone awry, but the fluidity of the transitions and the selection of the wide shots counteracted any potential problems. Finally, on cue with a great Russell Westbrook dunk, we’re thrown into news footage of past championship parades, which added a jolt to the system, but instead of leaning away, I leaned forward.
3. Sound Design and Music – The sound design and editing was seamless. It was cut and mixed to a great balance. It went from quiet streets; over-laid with ambient music to game highlights, where every dunk and block was heard, then back to the quiet streets and vice versa. On each edit the music quietly increased until the final cut to the parades where the ad jumped from a Westbrook slam to a city parade with confetti being fired off. It was excellent music editing and excellent post work.
Here’s where the ad may have lost the ball…
1. Playoff Length – I thought the ad did a great job getting me pumped for the playoffs, but I wonder how well it will keep me interested. The NBA playoffs, like its season, are long, so we’ll see how relevant the ad stays during its duration. Something is telling me there will be another ad sometime before the finals.
It was short and sweet with great artistic selection. It was simple, stupid and safe, which is my life motto. It got me pumped, but I do wonder how long I’ll have the energy; nonetheless, for right now, it has me back in ‘04 … “Let’s get it started in hah, let’s get it started in here! Lets get started in hah, let’s get it started in here!”