TNT Taps SpikeDDB for NBA Drive


Turner Network Television has tapped SpikeDDB in New York to handle what Turner Sports president David Levy dubbed "the most comprehensive and aggressive" on-air promotional campaign in the company's 20 years of covering the National Basketball Association.

The new campaign for the upcoming pro hoops season, which sources valued in the "mid-seven figure" range, will be directed by Spike Lee, who is also the ad agency's chairman and chief creative officer.

Targeting the tipoff of the 2003-04 season in late October, the ad effort, expected to run throughout the NBA campaign, will feature such all-star players as Shaquille O'Neal, Jason Kidd and Ben Wallace, as well as LeBron James, 2003's No. 1 draft pick.

The network's award-winning studio team of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Magic Johnson will also be part of the creative.

"This is a fully integrated campaign that aggressively promotes TNT Opening Night and TNT NBA Thursdays," said TNT and TBS Superstation senior vice president of marketing and programming Jeff Gregor in a statement. "We expect to create and introduce various extensions of the campaign promotionally and in our telecasts as the season progresses. It is truly a campaign that has legs."

Initial shooting on the campaign was scheduled for Sept. 18 in New York. The new NBA season begins for TNT with a doubleheader on Oct. 28, starting at 8 p.m.

The effort's theme will be, "Let the Truth Be Told." TNT said the spots will parody well-known nursery rhymes and feature the NBA players in unique settings, alongside the ultimate truth-tellers — kids aged 8 to 11 — who will deliver undeniable truths about the upcoming season.

Besides heavy on-air and cross-channel placement, TNT said the campaign will use print, outdoor, spot radio, cinema advertising, direct mail and online ads.

SpikeDDB — a partnership involving Lee and Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide Communications Corp. — beat out six other agencies for the assignment, TNT said.