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NBA Finals The Toast Campaign With Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Kimmel

NBA Finals The Toast Campaign With Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Kimmel


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A hidden speakeasy, hosted by Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade and Queen Latifah, with a guest list that includes Masked Singer and The Hangover star Ken Jeong, late night host Jimmy Kimmel, Lakers legend Magic Johnson and WNBA stars Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso?

No, it isn’t real life, but the NBA made it exist, at least for its just-released ad campaign called “The Toast” to tout the upcoming NBA Finals.

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“We wanted to really ensure that we could generate some emotion for fans, and we wanted for it to feel like we had reverence and appreciation for the season that we had just witnessed, but also get that sort of tingly on your fingertips feeling of anticipation,” says Tammy Henault, the CMO of the NBA, in an interview. “We wanted to have this anticipatory feeling while also coming together as a big celebration and celebrating this big moment, and we know a lot about the audience that we’re able to drive and bring in for the finals. A lot of folks that are coming to share in a moment together, with community, and what better way to kind of pull together our sort of extended NBA fans and NBA family community to have one big party and celebrate the season and generate some excitement.”

Developing an NBA Finals campaign is a challenge, because the ideation happens long before the league knows what teams will be in contention. That is a big reason why “The Toast” leans on legends and famous faces to celebrate the Finals.

“We wanted to bring in the significant faces of the legends, and then who better to be sort of the host and Dwyane Wade,” Henault says. “He’s so recognizable, right? And we really felt like he could carry this role of the host of this grand party.

“And then in terms of just the rounding out the cast, we definitely looked at sort of data and trends and looked at, ‘Who are folks that are those celebrities that are our core fans, and you would recognize them and see them courtside And if we were to have an NBA family party, who would we invite?’” she continued. “And so that’s really how we got to a lot of the familiar faces. Jimmy Kimmel and Ken Jeong and Queen Latifah and all of them were definitely chosen for their appeal to a purposeful section of the audience that we’re trying to attract for the finals this year.”

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Kimmel, of course, in addition to being an NBA fan, is also ABC’s late night host. ABC will be the TV home of the NBA Finals, as usual.

As for the decision to include Reese and Cardoso, Henault says it was a decision made to ensure there was “talent that will resonate and are culturally relevant at the moment and, you know, Angel and Camilla are obviously part of the news at the moment with the WNBA cycle just kicking off, and we really wanted to incorporate them.”

The NBA’s “Toast” campaign will include TV and digital extensions, of course (the campaign debuted during Sunday’s Knicks-Pacers Game 7 heartbreaker — for Knicks fans at least), with real-world activations at places like New York’s Governors Ball, NBA stores, Footlocker stores and Disney parks. The Larry O’Brien Trophy will also one again go on tour across the country.

“We really want to just kind of make sure that Larry is showing up at all the different places that will lean into — whether it’s the music aligned audience [as with Gov Ball] — we’re going to take him to the PGA Championship this weekend, USA Gymnastics to align with a more sports audience,” Henault says. “So we’re really just using him as a really great vehicle to insert the Finals into conversation that’s touching a lot of different audiences.”

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