Sue Bird of Seattle Storm celebrates during the game against the Las Vegas Aces in game three of the WNBA Finals on October 6, 2020 at Field Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida.
Ned Dishman | National Basketball Association | Getty Images
A row of CarMax Advertisement with WNBA superstar Sue Bird, which recently went viral on social media, uses humor and misdirection to promote female athletes it has encountered Decades of underrepresentation In the media. Bird’s performances on the pitch made her one of the best players to ever play professional basketball.
The advertisements – part of CarMax “Call your shot” Campaign – Released earlier this month but launched Twitter over the weekend. The spot that got the most attention was Bird, NBA Outstanding Steph Curry and an actor portraying a CarMax employee who was overjoyed to sell a vehicle to an athlete of Bird’s caliber. It challenges the gender bias in sport.
“I think it sets a new standard because it has received such positive feedback from so many people,” he said Nancy Lough, a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegasstudying sports marketing and gender equality. The commercial understands that “today’s consumer is smart,” she told CNBC. “They want to be respected. Women want to be respected, but men appreciate it [there] must be respect across the board. ”
In the ad, the CarMax agent tells Curry, “Man, if you’d told me this morning that I was working with a four-time champion …” Before he can finish, the Golden State Warriors cut him off who believes he is correcting the CarMax representative by saying he has only won three championship titles.
“No. I sold a car to Sue Bird,” says the clerk in the ad, pointing over the property while the camera points at Bird, a longtime Seattle Storm Guard, who waves and gets into the vehicle.
“Eleven all-star appearances, can you imagine?” asks the seller. Curry, a 33-year-old seven-time NBA All-Star, replied, “I mean, I’m working on it.”
The commercial had a positive impact on social media. In a Twitter post did the video 1.7 million views.
The viral moment for the CarMax ads comes when Bird’s alma mater, the University of Connecticut, plays in the Final Four of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament on Friday. The women’s games this year were fun strong audience subsequent to WNBA’s rise in popularity in its Covid-shortened season last year. The WNBA’s 25th season 2021 is expected to begin this spring.
Graham Unterberger – a senior copywriter at the Martin Agency, who worked on the CarMax campaign, said he found out that Bird had partnered with the car dealer in the fall, around the time of the storm won the WNBA title for the fourth time.
“When we saw her name, we said, ‘This is damn great. We have the best basketball player in the world to write commercials for,'” Unterberger said on a video call with CNBC. “After we wrote commercials, we saw the potential to mate [Curry and Bird] together.”
One reason the Bird and Curry commercial strikes a chord is because it puts a female athlete’s career well above that of a male athlete, Lough said.
“Historically, traditionally, and very commonplace these days, a WNBA athlete compared to an NBA athlete is always positioned as if the WNBA is less than, and in this case we actually see that in one really Funny, clever and novel flipped movie is new way, “she said.
The ad is also testament to the recognizable brand Bird has built in her nearly two decades in the WNBA, Lough added.
In the past, companies looking to use an athlete to build their brand have generally only turned to male athletic characters, Lough said. However, there has been a shift towards better marketing representation of female athletes, she added, pointing to tennis stars Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka as examples.
Bird series with CarMax – which recently became the WNBA first official car dealership partner – Serves as the newest chapter in this welcome development, Lough said.
Another example came earlier this month when Los Angeles Sparks moved forward Chiney Ogwumike, a two-time WNBA All-Star and ESPN commentator, starred in a solo advertising campaign for grocery delivery DoorDash.
As the creative process for the Curry Bird ad progressed, they just “let the one with the most rings win,” said Dustin Dodd, senior art director, Martin Agency.
“I don’t know how to look at Sue Bird’s résumé and not say ‘GOAT’,” added Unterberger, using an acronym for the greatest of all time. “It is just what it is.”
“When you think of the rise of the WNBA in recent years, Sue Bird is a huge part of that story for us and a huge part of the evolution of this game,” he said. “She has won championships with the same team in different decades. She is just an icon.”
Bird and Curry were never on location to shoot the commercial, Dodd said. Bird was in Connecticut while Curry was in California. The video recordings also took place at intervals of weeks. “We just had to cobble it together as best we could, and luckily it’s very popular with people,” he said.
In another the six ads in the series With Bird, she tells the actor, who is representing a CarMax employee, that her middle name is “Buckets” – a basketball slang term – after being asked for this information to fill out a sales form. After seconds of uncomfortable silence, she says to him: “No, it’s Brigit.”
Another is about CarMax, which delivers a purchased vehicle straight to Bird’s house. She forwards the gate password letter by letter to the employee via an intercom, and the spectators find out that the access code is “GOAT”.
Unterberger said he appreciated the conversation the ads sparked with Bird to promote representation for women athletes and suggested that other companies take note. “It’s not just WNBA fans. It’s not just NBA fans. It has grown into a bigger thing and I think that alone should prove that this is a worthy endeavor,” he said.
The commercials gained prominence online as the women’s and men’s college basketball tournaments at the two NCAA tournaments – especially in the local area – entered their later rounds and accommodation differences Weight room equipment and different types of Covid tests – were Sharply criticized earlier this month.
Lough said both the widespread condemnation of tournament inequality and the positive response to the CarMax ads with Bird in their own way are significant when it comes to promoting gender equality in athletics.
“We got a lot of attention in women’s sports,” she added, recalling that 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta when the US women’s soccer team won the gold medal. “But at the moment it’s different.”
“This is a wave of momentum that has been building for a while,” she said, “and in all honesty, I don’t see it stopping, and that’s new.”