The following interview with Bob Carney, the Vice President of Social and Digital Content at the NBA is part of our Campaign Spotlight series, which examines this year’s Hashtag Sports Award-winning work. NBA TikTok: #AllStarTalent Challenge won for Best Activation to Reach Young Fans, which recognizes the best utilization of a live activation or experience to engage Gen Z or Millennial fans.
What unique objective or goals led to the creation of #AllStarTalent Challenge?
To celebrate and raise awareness around NBA All-Star 2019, NBA TikTok launched a challenge called #AllStarTalent, asking fans to show off the skills that make them All-Stars. The challenge was created to help drive conversation around NBA All-Star and get young fans excited about watching all the events. #AllStarTalent was designed to engage the everyday TikTok user, aligning with one of the products and organic behaviors on the platform, where users mimic each other’s videos, typically synced to the same song. The NBA has found success with TikTok content in the past and developed a blueprint for successful campaigns from challenges such as the #nbahandshakes challenge commemorating the start of the 2016-17 season.
How was the campaign created and implemented with the modern sports fan in mind?
TikTok challenges offer video prompts that encourage users to submit their own interpretations on a theme. This helped present a middle ground between traditional ‘push’ media (sending out posts) and conventional user-generated content (sending out a prompt and waiting for submissions to roll in).
To tip off the challenge, NBA TikTok put out numerous #AllStarTalent posts, starting with the official tip-off compilation video and continuing through Stephen Curry’s reverse, self-alley-oop to finish the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.
While NBA-created content was some of the top-performing posts under the hashtag, NBA fans around the world joined in on the global celebration of the game with original content of their own. More than 3,300 videos were submitted from Feb. 15-17 featuring fans showing off what makes them #AllStarTalent.
How did this work achieve effective engagement and what measurable outcomes were delivered?
#AllStarTalent finished as the NBA’s most popular challenge ever on TikTok, with the 42 million organic views over the weekend of All-Star helping to drive two times organic growth on our account, compared to a normal week. The hashtag garnered more than 106 million video views in just 6 weeks.
What new benchmark(s) in fan engagement does this set? How will this work inspire and move the industry forward?
TikTok allows us to engage with our fans – especially those in a younger demographic – in a bold new way: by giving them the tools and the platforms to tell their own stories around a central theme. This opportunity fit perfectly with our All-Star strategy.
At a time in the year when the NBA is celebrating the unique, world-class skills of its players, fans around the world were given a chance to show off their own skills. Whether it was hoops, comedy, music or… carving a potato to look like Bill Nye, they delivered. And as the world’s greatest basketball players took center stage, fans took their share of the spotlight as well.
What do you think made #AllStarTalent so appealing to the target audience (Gen Z)?
This challenge was designed to give NBA fans around the world an opportunity to showcase their talent and skills in conjunction with NBA All-Star, which celebrates the top talent in our league. TikTok is a unique platform that resonates with Gen Z and is driven primarily by user-generated content. Our #AllStarTalent campaign allowed the Gen Z community to share their creative, athletic and innovative sides.
NBA TikTok: #All-Star Challenge was one of only 25 inaugural Hashtag Sports Award winners. What does this honor in engagement excellence mean to the NBA and the campaign?
Growing the game and reaching new audiences in innovative ways is a priority for the NBA. The success of this campaign is a testament to the league’s young, engaged and tech-savvy fans. We are proud to be among the 25 inaugural winners and are excited to continue to find new ways to reach and engage fans on social media.
Learn more about the Hashtag Sports Awards which celebrate excellence in fan & consumer engagement, and sign up to be notified when entries for 2020 go live this fall.
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