Turner Networks

Putting the full-court press on NBA influencer marketing

The challenge

A late-game substitution

In spring 2020, TNT wanted to increase awareness and tune-in ahead of the series premiere of its new show “Shaq Life,” starring NBA Hall of Famer and current TNT broadcaster Shaquille O’Neal. As a longtime broadcaster of pro and college basketball, the Turner family of networks were counting on the NBA playoff push and NCAA March Madness for cross-promotional inventory.

Instead, they got the COVID-19 pandemic. With the NBA season postponed and March Madness cancelled for the first time ever, the network’s primary tactic for getting “Shaq Life” in front of basketball fans disappeared overnight. With just days until the show’s premiere, they turned to Lineage and our partnership with the NBPA Content Studio to ideate, book, and produce an activation with NBA players.

The move

Shaq’s got hooks

Standing seven feet-plus, with a dominating post game, championship success, and a personality to match, Shaq has always been larger than life. But it’s his off-court pursuits—successful careers as a rapper, businessman, and now an EDM DJ—that have paved the way for today’s players to do more than dribble. With “Shaq Life” set to explore the Big Everything’s life outside the game, we had our hook.

Lineage recruited players from around the NBA to deliver their unique, personal perspectives on Shaq’s influence beyond the hardwood. We produced their tributes remotely, then inserted them into motion graphics featuring key art and footage from the show to create videos that the players shared on premiere day.

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Shoutouts to Shaq

Victor Oladipo, NBA All-Star and the best singer in basketball, congratulates Shaq on the show and his inspiring success in the music business.

Run it back

One year later, on the strength of our ability to conceptually develop, procure talent, and produce relevant, resonant content featuring NBA players, TNT’s sister network TBS engaged Lineage to build hype and drive tune-in for its new spring premiere. This time, the NBA superstar turned broadcaster turned TV personality was three-time champion Dwyane Wade, host of “The Cube,” an American import of a successful British game show.

Our mission was twofold: secure participants with a professional and personal connection to Dwyane and each other, then develop an at-home version of one of the show’s deceptively tricky challenges. We signed premiere NBA talent to attempt an adaptation of the “Blind Shot” challenge, shooting a ball into a receptacle sight unseen.

The squad

Dwyane himself kicked off the challenge, and, having infamously awarded Aaron Gordon a 9/10 at the 2020 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest, offered the high flyer a chance for redemption. Next up was Aaron’s other dunk contest nemesis Zach LaVine, who plays in the city where Wade grew up. Running the anchor leg was social media heavyweight, onetime reality TV star, and Zach’s fellow former UCLA Bruin, Lonzo Ball.

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“Blind Shot”

Tossing a ball into a container you can’t see: harder than it looks, even for the pros

Game plan

As premiere day approached, Lineage ensured that the players created content aligned with the show’s overall marketing campaign and coordinated posting times during their busy schedules. The result was a seamless flow of posts and interaction across their social channels.

Within just a few hours, the blend of talent, topic, and tactics spiked excitement and created massive organic engagement leading up to the premiere.

By the numbers