Rudy Gay: Interactive Marketing Genius

rudy gay interactive marketing slam dunk contest youtube

This weekend is the NBA All-Star Game and Slam Dunk Contest. Taking a clue from American Idol, the NBA announced that it is allowing fans to vote for “best dunk� via text message voting.

But here is the really cool thing: Grizzlies frontman Rudy Gay recognized an opportunity in the NBA’s annoucment and has gone one step further. Rudy started a microsite where fans can submit video clips of themselves dunking via Youtube. Hardcore fans know there are guys who can do all sorts of crazy cool dunks, but who could never play pro. Rudy wants to mine this ‘collective intelligence’ of sorts by picking his favorite submitted dunk and then attempting to replicate it during the dunk contest.

According to Rudy, “We can win the dunk contest together.�

I really love the concept going on here: using the internet, community and user-generated-content to bring ‘new life’ to an event that otherwise would simply be a 60 minute television spot. Who wouldn’t want Rudy to win?

Also, as an interactive marketer and basketball fan, having a genuine opportunity to interact with an NBA superstar and actually impact his performance is super exciting. Such creative marketing suggests many new possibilities for enterprising media companies and personalities. Social media can have a massive impact on traditional entertainment mediums.

Consider for example the writers strike that has recently crippled television viewership. One way to rejuvenate enthusiasm for television shows is to make them more interactive. Imagine a scenario on a show like 24. Typically there is some sort of ‘hunt’ going on for a missing person, or information. Jack Bauer needs to find it to save the world. What if there was actually an offline component occurring simultaneously? Say an informant was on the loose in a real city? Viewers would actually help Jack by finding this person. They could visit the real buildings they saw in previous episodes or search for a missing character based on clues. It could be so entertaining especially if people worked together using video or photo to collectively analyze clues. Best of all -  whether or not a character gets killed-off could rely on this ‘offline’ information, or person, being recovered within a set period of time.

Rudy Gay should be commended for his entrepreneurial approach. While Nike should be ashamed they didn’t think of something similar (and create a killer campaign around it), I also love that Gay doesn’t stand to gain much aside from an increase in his celebrity among fans. It makes this particular interaction all that more genuine.


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