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How NBA 2K Fans Can ‘Answer the Call’ of Greatness


Creatives from adam&eveNYC speak to LBB’s Ben Conway about creating the video game franchise’s new platform, adding more basketball greatness to the number 23

How NBA 2K Fans Can ‘Answer the Call’ of Greatness

Designed to bring in a wider audience of players than ever before, adam&eveDDB’s offices in New York and San Francisco collaborated with the NBA 2K team to create a new brand platform that celebrates the greatness within us all. 

Including a hero spot that features athletes such as Devin Booker, Zach LaVine and Chet Holmgren, as well as rising artist Jack Harlow, the campaign prompts everyone -  from the ‘ordinary’ 2K players, to the die-hard fans - to ‘Answer the Call’ and make a legacy of their own. NBA 2K23 holds particular significance to the basketball world, as the widely regarded ‘GOAT’ of the sport, Michael Jordan, is famous for wearing the number 23 - an aspect that is prominent throughout the new platform.

To discuss how adam&eveNYC worked with the iconic video game brand for the first time, celebrated Michael Jordan’s legacy and challenged players around the world to become iconic themselves, the agency’s creative team spoke with LBB’s Ben Conway.

Read their conversation below.

LBB> When did this whole project start? How long have you had the account and when did you start work on this new platform?

adam&eveNYC> NBA 2K is a new client for adam&eveNYC for 2022 after winning the pitch in December 2021. We began work on creating a global platform for NBA2K23 in February 2022, resulting in ‘Answer the Call’. From there, we began concepting the various campaign phases and creative executions across cover announce, launch, NBA tip-off, holiday and more.

We collaborated with our partners at DDB San Francisco. Given the scale of the campaign, which will run throughout the course of the next 12 months, it was great to be able to partner with our team on the west coast across various parts of the campaign. 

LBB> Where did ‘Answer the Call’ come from - and how did the number 23 influence it?

adam&eveNYC> ‘Answer The Call’ was born from the understanding that Jordan’s legacy and the number 23 are the ultimate definitions of greatness in the NBA. They’re also the greatest motivation for any player in the world. Since this year marks the 24th edition of the game, the best way to acknowledge Jordan’s legacy of achieving greatness was to challenge the world to do the same. Putting out the challenge for all NBA fans and 2K fans to answer the call of greatness was the most direct way for us to tell generations of players influenced by Jordan that now was the time to make a legacy of their own.

LBB> How involved were the folks at 2K? What were some key ideas or values they wanted to have in the new platform and campaign?

adam&eveNYC>The NBA2K team was extremely collaborative throughout the process. Strategically, they pushed to emphasise the message that NBA 2K23 will provide anyone with the opportunity to be great. This helped inform the key message of the campaign. From creative development through post-production, they were true partners in how we wanted to tell our story. We saw each part of the campaign as a true collaboration between our teams. The result is authentic to the NBA2K experience and opens that world to more gamers than ever before. As the owners of the relationship with the NBA, they were also critical in helping identify and secure key celeb talent that helped provide credibility and elevate the spot.

LBB> Why did you want to honour the ‘ordinary’ 2K players? Was this a drastic change from the previous 2K platforms? 

adam&eveNYC> 2K’s core gamer audience will likely buy the game every year. With our launch campaign, we aimed to speak to those whose purchasing decisions around the game we can influence. We wanted to show that whether you’re playing 2K for the first time or you’ve been a day-one 2K player, you can experience greatness on and off the court in 2K23. To do that, it was important to show ordinary, everyday players striving for greatness in both the real world and the game, and being rewarded for it in all of the epic ways a GOAT should be.

LBB> How did you choose what real-life elements to include in the hero film that weren’t about showing basketball or the gameplay of 2K itself - i.e the shoe signing and wall mural? How do they represent the wider themes of this new platform?

adam&eveNYC> The shoe signing, mural and name-drop scenes were all inspired by real-life milestones that NBA greats tend to experience; getting your own signature sneaker, having murals of you pop up everywhere and getting mentioned by a rapper/singer on hit records. Each of these moments speaks to what it’s like to achieve greatness at the highest level in other cultural areas off the court. The greatness achieved on the court leads to a new opportunity in footwear or a catchy lyric that goes viral. We worked together to translate all these moments into the world of 2K to show that everyone can experience greatness in their own way.

Achieving greatness on and off the court is the ultimate goal for any NBA fan and 2K player, anywhere. Knowing that, we really focused on making every scene as relatable and entertaining as possible, whether it was showing that you can have your own signature shoe or a global star like Zach LaVine giving your mural a nod of respect.

LBB> What was it like working with the athletes and Jack Harlow - how did they factor into the creative? 

adam&eveNYC> We were lucky to have worked with such an amazing group of athletes such as Devin Booker, Zach LaVine and Chet Holmgren, as well as an artist like Jack Harlow. Everyone gravitated toward the work and identified with it, which made being on set a breeze. As for the voiceover, Harlow brought the classic ‘15 minutes of fame’ saying to the mix. We worked together to make it a misdirect in the opening, before getting to the core idea that no matter who you are, greatness is calling on 2K.

LBB> How does this platform extend beyond the new campaign and hero film? What can we expect in the coming months and throughout the game cycle of 2K23?

adam&eveNYC> ‘Answer the Call’ is a platform that the NBA 2K team has fully embraced for this year. As new content within the game is announced throughout the year and as we reach key moments within the calendar, the messaging or activations are all centred around getting users to answer the call. We’ll see this come to life in-game, in real world experiences, and through digital and social activations - giving all players across the globe a chance to ‘Answer The Call’.

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DDB North America, Thu, 13 Oct 2022 16:35:00 GMT