Cannes Lions

Dear Basketball - Integrated Media Campaign

ROGERS & COWAN, Los Angeles / VERIZON / 2018

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Description

After researching how the Academy’s voters and insular Animated and Short Films Branch made selections in the past, we studied how previous animated shorts approached unique challenges during their awards campaigns so we could apply relevant insights to “Dear Basketball.”

Ultimately, we determined that even though we had bankable talent, it would be wiser to promote “Dear Basketball” as their passion project rather than a star vehicle. And we would follow up that idea by using the power of publicity to carry the inspirational movie’s message through each channel with the creative application of support from key stakeholders, such as leading directors, animators, and executives. Every PR moment needed to live as part of a cohesive effort to amplify marketing strategy in some areas and provide the foundation for other efforts. We also knew we’d need to access every media channel from PR to paid media, events, influencers, and more.

Execution

We started by recruiting the most important thought leaders and key press to start our campaign in summer 2017. We restricted public interviews with talent to maintain humility, and launched with key interviews for credibility. Later, we drove conversation with trade ads, innovative digital ad tech, social media, and email marketing. Finally, we did a roadshow with Academy voters in animation studios around the country and hosted by key industry leaders to earn a shortlist spot. All of this was paired with the halo of a consumer-facing campaign that provided a backdrop of press coverage and advertising—not with our stars, but about them, allowing us to appear confident and strong but also humble and independent, earning us a nomination in January 2018. Finally, with a nomination in hand, we saturated a much larger voter pool with efforts across all channels through February 2018 to drive home the victory.

Outcome

“Dear Basketball” won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film after a grueling nine-month campaign, as well as an Annie—an animation-specific award—for Best Short Film. It was selected as Best Short Film in the World Animation Festival and issued the festival’s first-ever Special Jury Award for its high quality. The accolades continue to roll in as we write this submission and share Kobe Bryant’s transition from star athlete to authentic filmmaker, Glen Keane’s role as an animation legend in his prime, and a project that is a reflection of independent, passionate filmmaking in an increasingly corporate world.

“Dear Basketball” is a truly special piece of entertainment that had the distinction of winning an Academy Award. The film’s success can be attributed to its quality—and the fact that we communicated this quality strategically through an integrated media campaign targeting the right audiences in the best possible places.

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