NBA Finals Ads: Winners and Big Brand Losers

Brands are making big bets on the NBA Finals, but will targeting the wrong audience bring some major advertisers down?

While everyone else is paying attention to whether or not the Warriors will avenge last year’s loss with a decisive sweep, Networked Insights is paying attention to something a little different – the relevance of advertisers during the NBA Finals and how consumers are reacting to advertising on game days.

Like Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, the movies “Baby Driver” and “War for the Planet of the Apes,” are performing like all-stars during the NBA Finals with well-targeted trailers playing throughout the Finals that are resonating with social audiences.


By comparing conversation volume about these topics on the days of games 1, 2, and 3 of the NBA Finals this year to volume on non-game days since 5/19/17 (using our analysis platform Kairos), we found that these movies have all seen over a 120% lift in conversation on game days versus non-game days.

Posts about both movies during games 1, 2 or 3 of the NBA Finals

So, what have they done to see so much success?

Using our new audience marketing platform Audience.ai to do some quick real-time analysis, we found that the top audiences interested in the NBA Finals were Sports Fans, Males, those interested in Business & Finance, Students, Millennials, and Dads. “Baby Driver” and “War for the Planet of the Apes” are both over-indexing for affinity with at least 4 of those of those same 5 audiences.

Males, Business & Finance, and Dads’ affinities for the NBA Finals

Conversely, ads for brands like Acura, Fruit of the Loom, Valerian, “City of a Thousand Planets,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” have seen dips of -16.8% and lower in conversation amounts during game days.

A similar analysis done using Audience.ai revealed that each of these brands are attracting audiences very different than those that are interested in the NBA finals; on average, only 2 of the audience groups most attracted to these brands were also interested in the NBA Finals.

Therefore, while these brands are reaching a few members of their ideal target audiences, on the whole, these brands aren’t advertising in the right place to target their current and potential audiences, and wasting valuable advertising dollars while doing it.

Better Audience Targeting

So how could these brands have ensured that their advertising dollars were being spent in places that were actually relevant and interesting to their target audience – putting in a championship performance like “Baby Driver” or “War for the Planet of the Apes”?

Cue Audience.ai, which allows marketers and advertisers alike to search and understand which audiences are interested in their brand and what other interests that audience has. Audience.ai allows you to discover an audience’s interests across 25,000 different topics, ranging from media, movies and tv, to their tastes in music, sports athletes and celebrities.

Utilizing this data, you’ll gain the power to quickly learn those interests already relevant to your target audience or make sure that you’re advertising during major TV events that are highly interesting to them – ensuring that you’re reaching your goals, talking to your target audience in the right place and at the right time, and spending your money wisely.

Wanna give it a shot? Try out a free demo. Trust us, it’s a slam dunk.