Earlier in the week Steve Weinman unleashed Part 1 and II of his of his NBA Preview. On the heels of that I'm ranking the marketing campaigns of all 30 NBA teams. In doing so I went to each team's website and asked three questions:
- Does the team have a campaign or slogan?
- Is it easy to find?
- Is it the same as last year?
From there I let my my personal bias run wild.
No clear marketing campaign
30. Golden State - Arguably the most disappointing. And I say that because Golden State of Mind proves how dynamic that community is. Furthermore, the Warriors were one of the most entertaining teams of the last season and a half.
29. Bobcats, Grizzlies, Thunder, Timberwolves
- Historically, bad teams have some of the most enjoyable marketing campaigns. And that's solely due to the fact that it's harder to sell a losing team. Hence more creativity and at times a certain amount of comedy. Think Indiana's "Buckle Up Baby" from 2008. Buckle up for what? There's a nightlife joke in there just dying to be made.
25. Suns, Trailblazers - Disappointing because I expected something cool. With Portland it's downright inexcusable. That roster is a gold mine for a fantastic slogan.
23. Spurs - I never expected San Antonio to even pretend to be clever. So I'm okay with it.
I Don't Think There's a Marketing Campaign
22. Pistons - Detroit appears to be taking this year off after the 50th Anniversary/True Blue campaign of the 2008 season. Still, the "We're About Business" quote on the front page of Detroit's website at least looked like an ad campaign.
Wait, isn't that last year's ad campaign?
21. Bulls - Chicago should try anything it can to break out of last season's malaise. And there are some young, exciting players to promote, including a hometown #1 pick. I don't get it.
19. Cavaliers - I'm not crazy about plagiarizing the Three Musketeers two years in a row.
18. Hawks - The "Highlight Factory" lost some luster after a full year in existence. But I like Josh Smith and company. And Smith is a one man highlight factory. True story.
17. Lakers - I don't like saying anything nice about the Lakers. But I respect their 60-year history. And for the record, if this were their 60th season, the Lakers would have finished 3rd.
Not Trying All That Hard
16. Kings - Sometimes it's best for an organization to accept that it is in a rebuilding phase and not pretend otherwise. That appears to be the case with Sacramento, which is essentially just asking for its fans to buy tickets. Although to be fair, that's part of Kevin Martin's arm in the lower right hand corner. As expected he's all over Sacramento's website.
15. Mavericks - I would be happier if they slipped an "away" between "Go" and "Mavs" and then replaced "Mavs" with "Jason Kidd". Still, at least Dallas recognizes its best player.
14. Hornets - It's hard to kill the Hornets for not having an over the top marketing campaign. And that's due to the fact that they've made a concerted effort to promote New Orleans or "Nola". Also, we're officially in Blue Week.
[Update: New Orleans' slogan is actually "Passion, Purpose, Pride". My mistake. And that's on top of that I did not give the Hornets enough credit for their continued work with New Orleans since the devastation caused by Katrina. I'm definitely guilty of underestimating what a hard road it has been for both the community and the organization since 2005. And it's admirable how much the latter has worked to help the former.]
Most Likely to Provoke a Communism Reference
13. Rockets - First there was the massive government bailout plan. Then stories swirled about the government taking an ownership stake in banks. And now the Rockets are unleashing a "Get Red" ad campaign upon us. For someone who grew up terrified of the Soviet Union and communism this is difficult to process. And yes that hurt Houston's place in the rankings.
Pass the Blah
12. Wizards - Washington has one of the most entertaining rosters in all of professional sports. Perhaps too entertaining at times. So I can see why the organization wanted to tone it down. "Character, Commitment, Connection" might be toned down too far.
11. Heat - I'm in the "Michael Beasley will be fine as a pro" camp. That means I'm not concerned about his extracurricular activities in Miami and NBA cities across the nation. However, if Beasley and Mario Chalmers go astray, like they did at the rookie symposium, bloggers could have a field day with "The Heat Experience".
10. Jazz - To be honest I expected them to be like the Spurs and ignore the ad campaign altogether. Not the case. Although it looks like they hired a caveman to come up with the slogan.
I Don't Believe You
9. Magic - One question looms over Orlando's campaign. Has the organization had 20 FANtastic Seasons? I enjoyed the brief Penny/Shaq era. Grant Hill's time there was maddening. Tracy McGrady's tenure was a roller coaster. However, you feel it's hard to ignore the fact that the most prominent Magic blog is named "Third Quarter Collapse". That has to say something. In the end Orlando loses a few spots for forgetting about Darrell Armstrong (Hat tip Ball Don't Lie).
8. Bucks - The sheer number of terrible games the Celtics and Bucks played against each other over the last two seasons was one of the underrated stories of that time period. In fact I was excited to learn that their last meeting this year will fall on March 15th. That's good news, as they're April encounters tend to be nightmarish. Anyways I'm not entirely sure what is going on in Milwaukee. And even with the new faces, they don't appear "Ready to Rise".
7. Clippers - The 2009 edition of the LA Clippers has the potential to implode. Baron Davis and Marcus Camby are already dinged up and they could definitely miss some time. Yet I like Chris Kaman and Al Thornton and Eric Gordon intrigues me. Ultimately LA lost a few slots because the Clippers and their fans could end up hating the game.
6. Nuggets - Can you feel it? No. I also got a kick out of the fact that Denver is currently promoting the draw of the Lakers only slightly less than it is pushing Allen Iverson. As a side note, it's fun to see how many teams are banking on big crowds for games against Boston. It's one of the joys of following a winning team.
I Respect the Effort
5. Pacers - Indiana does not get enough credit for its proud tradition. So I understand what the organization is attempting to do. Unfortunately the Pacers don't have the talent. And even though the players' images cycle through the current ad campaign, I question Josh McRoberts' role in that rotation.
4. Knicks - Much like the Pacers, the Knicks are trying to win back fans. When it came down to it, I thought New York's slogan came off better.
I Might Be the Only One, But I Loved It
3. Nets - New Jersey's campaign is clearly aimed at driving attendance for a rebuilding team that is lame duck in New Jersey. And since "Seriously we're going to make a run at LeBron in 2010" was viewed as tampering, the organization went to Plan B - "It's about...":
"…The Season Premier"
"…A Night Out With the Nets & Bud Light"
"…The Battle of the Bands
And wait for it, wait for it...BIRTHDAYS PARTIES!
2. 76ers - Philly got bonus points for the throwback look and the over the top intro on its website. Furthermore, the slogan actually makes sense. The 76ers will most definitely run at times.