Leading up to and during the NBA All-Star Game last night, there were some great videos and initiatives created by the league and brands like adidas to insert themselves in the conversation online and engage fans. Here are some things I noticed.
Facebook/All-Star Game Live Streaming
Facebook, TNT and the NBA teamed up to live stream the NBA All-Star Game online and pull in fan conversations in the same page via Facebook Connect. Fans could watch the activities last night live on TNT's website and choose from any of the four different camera angles available. While they were watching online, all the conversations from Facebook from the other people who were watching were pulled in to the page on the right side. Fans could see the conversations as a whole, or just what their friends were saying. Fans could also vote on which players they wanted to see via the Player Cams. The live streams were presented by Sprite, and this was a good way to tie in a sponsor to something that provides value/entertainment for fans. This was a very cool mashup of live streaming and Facebook, and one that I think complements/enhances TV viewing. In the future, I bet we'll see more of this and the ability to segment the conversation even further, so you could break it down and see what people were saying by city/state/age/etc.
Adidas/Dwight Howard Videos and Live Updates
Adidas created a section for fans to follow Dwight Howard during the All-Star Game. Here they could find YouTube videos, his posts on Twitter and pictures from Flickr, which were updated in real-time via RSS feeds. Adidas did a good job promoting this section--they branded their YouTube channel with Dwight Howard imagery and encouraged people to follow Dwight live on their website.This gave fans unprecented access to Dwight Howard and enabled them to see a side of him that they might not see during games--he's a HUGE jokester and goofball. The key to this initiative was that it wasn't forced or scripted (I don't think). It was just Dwight being himself. The videos include footage of Dwight pulling pranks on some of the other players, and they've all received a few thousand views on YouTube. I hope adidas leaves them up, as they'll continue to get more views over time. The semi-commercial that shows Dwight getting ready for a game to the beat of drums was uploaded on February 12 and already has over 2 million views! (see video below).
OTHER - Shaq Is A Dancing Machine
Shaq + Mask + Dancing + All-Star Game = guaranteed viral hit. The video of Shaq's intro dance was quickly uploaded to YouTube by a blogger and it already has over 76,000 views. There are at least 10 other people who uploaded the same video, and their videos also have thousands of views collectively. I'm not sure if Shaq Daddy just really wanted to dance or if this was orchestrated by his PR team, but the exposure he's getting/will continue to get from this is awesome. Shaq has really become an internet celebrity via his hilarious posts/quotes on Twitter. Check out the video below to see Shaq' s intro dance from the All Star Game last night.
All of this stuff produced a lot of conversation on Twitter, blogs and other communities online, in addition to all the offline conversations that people have. It's great to see the NBA and a brand like adidas taking advantage of social media in a ways that are valuable for fans. What do you think about these initiatives?