This week, notorious mixed reality company Magic Leap announced a new NBA “app” built on its platform.
Per Magic Leap, “Using Magic Leap’s Screens framework, fans can pull up multiple virtual screens to watch live games, full game replays, and highlights playing all at the same time. Only on Magic Leap’s spatial computing platform can these screens be independently scaled to any size and placed in any location. But the really cool stuff? The NBA App on Magic Leap introduces team -vs- team and player -vs- player season-long table top stats comparisons. And while live games are exclusively available for NBA League Pass and NBA Single-Game subscribers, a massive catalog of on-demand content is free for anyone using Magic Leap One.”
Why it’s hot:
Any new platform’s success ultimately depends on people using it. And in order to be useful, it must offer utility. It seems Magic Leap is starting to get into the first of what it believes to be many applications of adding mixed reality layers to our physical world. For several years, they had talked about the device which would enable this. Now, they’ve finally turned to the platform on which to develop experiences. Could this be what the app store was to smart phones? Only time will tell, but it will be exciting to see how Magic Leap and its brand partners develop new ways to experience content and the world with an added immersive layer.
Starting on February 17th, Twitter will be live streaming NBA games–but only the second half, and only with an isolated view of one player. The interesting premise stems from existing second screen behavior. Instead of competing with fans who will watch the game on TV, Twitter wants to offer an interactive and complimentary experience.
During the first half of the game, fans can tweet to vote for which player they want to see in Twitter’s stream. Then, the “iso-cam” will stream on @NBAonTNT.
If the player selected happens to be benched or fouls out, the view will switch to a camera behind the backboard — still giving viewers a different perspective than what TNT will be airing on TV.
Why It’s Hot
This is a unique way to capitalize on the existing behavior of scrolling social media while watching sports. Twitter is giving people a reason to tune into their live stream to not miss out on the action that only they’ll be able to capture.
To promote its live stream of the recent NBA Finals, ESPN pulled an interesting stunt in Manhattan – Airdropping images with text connecting what people were doing with watching the finals.
Why It’s Hot
I’m not sure it is either real, or hot, but what’s seemingly interesting and clever is the fact that they utilized an overlooked iOS feature and used it to personalized their message on a one-to-one basis.
“Essentially what happens is customers can purchase a jersey for their favorite player and unlock “premium content” about that player via the NikeConnect app. That premium content includes things such as “pregame arrival footage,” highlight reels, music playlists from players, and more. Just so everything comes full circle, the jerseys can unlock boosts for players in NBA 2K18.”
Why It’s Hot:
Everything is now a platform. With AR, NFC, and QR truly becoming mainstream, and mixed reality and AI presumably not long behind them, we’re interacting with things in a whole new way. This is a relatively light example – less utility, more entertainment – but it shows how technology is integrating into everything to provide a new layer of experience to even the clothes we wear.
As one of the greatest to ever play the game, and perhaps one of the most polarizing figures in sports today, Lebron James’s has seen his share of ups and downs since he joined the NBA in 2003. But there’s no arguing that James has carefully crafted his Brand. At times powerfully emotional – at times wholly contrived – James harnesses his branded partnerships and massive media leverage to tell his story and sell product while he’s at it. Because that’s exactly what a superstar player like James does off the court– he constructs and carefully manages his image. Through media and brand partnerships over the years, James has established himself as one of the most iconic figures in advertising– most notably through his work with Nike.
Watching James’s career through the lens of his ads shows us the story arc of his own personal brand strategy come to life. Juxtaposing James’s Nike spots during his stint in Miami with those that followed once he returned as the Prodigal Son of Cleveland make for an uneasy character study; The Ringer’s Jason Concepcion cynically muses of the spots, “Authenticity is a valuable commodity that can be replicated as necessary”. Yet if this tells us anything as marketers, it’s that strong brands are resilient, despite losses, missteps, and change.
The National Basketball Association has held a Dr. J-like grip on the No. 1 ranking in the weekly Adweek/Shareablee Instagram video charts since the pro league’s playoffs got into full stride last month. It would be easy to say the dominance is all about LeBron James—his fans and haters who seemingly cannot get enough of the best player in the world.
But the NBA’s social media staffers deserve a lot more credit than that, routinely finding creative ways to post 15-second clips that generate huge engagement. For instance, one week, it was a series of stills that showed the trendy/preppy duds being worn by James, Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce, Russell Westbrook, etc., as they strutted their stuff before and after their playoff games. No highlight reels needed.
Most recently, the NBA won Instagram with a social video showing the Miami Heat’s Mike Miller running the court and nailing a three-point shot in a Finals game versus the San Antonio Spurs. The catch: The basketball journeyman was only wearing one shoe—and the #FlashBack clip was from last year’s Finals against the Spurs. In terms of repurposing creative, that’s a slam dunk.
Why it’s hot:
Interesting way to generate content around the event. Sometimes unusual and unknown activities around an event (pre/post) provides the audience with a moment of “discovery” to fuel their immersive experience.