How Kia and CarMax tap NBA, stars like Steph Curry to spark brand awareness

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EDO Inc., an analytics firm that measures online search activity after commercials run on TV, has found that NBA Finals broadcasts generate more auto searches than any program except the Super Bowl.
“The NBA Finals is consistently the second-best event across all of television behind the Super Bowl for generating engagement with ads for automakers,” Kevin Krim, CEO of EDO Inc., told Automotive News. “This past year, someone who saw an ad for an automaker [during the NBA Finals] was two times as likely to search for that automaker’s make or model in the minutes following one of those ads as the average ad in prime-time broadcasts.”
EDO said Kia, Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan and Volkswagen had the highest spend during the 2021 NBA playoffs and also saw the greatest benefits in search engagement.
A TV viewer was 48 percent more likely to engage online with Kia after its ads aired during the playoffs, EDO said, relative to a commercial during an average prime-time broadcast and cable program.
CarMax, which became the official auto retailer of the NBA and WNBA in December in a multiyear agreement, continues to build its pro basketball footprint.
On top of the pregame show, CarMax has commercial buys on TNT, NBA TV and ESPN.
It also sponsors a list of teams that continues to grow. At the moment, CarMax sponsors the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trailblazers along with the newly added Phoenix Suns, Washington Wizards and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and Washington Mystics.
CarMax launched commercials this month for the third year of its “Call Your Shot” content series, with NBA players Stephen Curry and Zach LaVine and the WNBA’s Sue Bird reprising their roles. WNBA stars Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi have joined the campaign, too.

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