NBA uses online video ad to send powerful message

The NBA and the Los Angeles Clippers released ads denouncing racially insensitive comments made by a team owner.

Posted on Apr 30, 2014 by YuMe

The Los Angeles Clippers franchise recently found itself the center of both the basketball and media world when audio recordings of racially insensitive comments made by the team's owner were released to the public. Donald Sterling, who has owned the team for more than 30 years, reportedly has a history of comments and actions that could be categorized as offensive. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, Sterling was investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and settled three separate lawsuits in the amount of $2.76 million made on behalf of minorities who claimed housing discrimination. However, this latest transgression earned him a lifetime ban from the National Basketball Association, as well as a $2.5 million fine.

The comments themselves were damaging not only to the Clippers, but also to the multibillion dollar brand and business that is the NBA. However, after the announcement of the lifetime ban by the league's commissioner, the Clippers released a digital, static banner ad declaring solidarity with those who were offended by Sterling's comments, according to AdWeek. Additionally, Sports Illustrated reported that the NBA also released an online video ad conveying the same message.

In the Internet video ad, titled, "We Are One," the Clippers use the slogan and team logo integrated on top of a solid black background. Despite not being overly complex, the ad sends a strong message that Sterling's personal views do not reflect those of the NBA itself. Adweek reports the banner ad gained 16,000 likes on Facebook in the first hour of release and 863 retweets and close to 600 favorites on Twitter in the first six minutes.

"It's a powerful statement," Ken Carbone, co-founder of the Carbone Smolan Agency in New York City, told AdWeek. "Given all the heat, it's impressive that they've come up with this on the spot. It's all anyone has been paying attention to, so you don't need subtitles. It's a great, simple [reaction]."

The NBA used the same style in its static banner as it did in its digital video ad. The organization made the video to highlight the diversity in the NBA, as well as to promote teamwork. The ad contained a message that stated, "We are a Team. On a team, me becomes we. We stand together, we strive together, we win together. We are a team and this is our time. We are one."