NBA and Kia – event sponsorship

Yang Yu

Twitter: Will_YangYu



Throughout our presentation, I have learnt a lot about events sponsorships. I am always a NBA fan and there is one brand that has been working really hard in recent year to showcase its brand in NBA. That brand is Korean automobile company KIA Motors. If you have watched couple NBA games, you definitely know what I am talking about. Kia optimal is the official car of NBA and many important awards, including MVP, Sixth Man, Defensive Player and Most Improved Player Awards, are presented by KIA motors.

This partnership between KIA and NBA started from 2008 when they signed a multi-year marketing contract. Ever since then, you can see all kinds of KIA commercial that has NBA elements in them. Here is one of the commercial that I find really interesting.

NBA KIA commercial

In the commercial, audience will sense the intensity and thrill of the game of basketball from the projected images. Suddenly, a two normal guys show up and play the basketball using the light from a Kia automobile. Personally, I think that this is a well-executed commercial because it has humor, unexpectedness, and most importantly, great connection with NBA fans. Basically, the commercial is calling consumers to show their love of basketball by purchasing a Kia. For any huge basketball fans, the love of the game means everything to them and they would definitely love to show people that.

Of course commercial is not the only way to promote their brand. Kia really works hard and finds every opportunity to expose their brand to the NBA audience. In NBA, one of the most watched game is NBA All Star Games. In 2011 NBA All Star game, NBA player Black Griffin finished an amazing dunk by jump over a KIA Optima. In that case, KIA has grabbed millions of people’s eyes all over the world. That Dunk helped Blake win the Dunk Contest and suddenly everyone was talking about Blake jumping over a KIA to finish a spectacular dunk. Also, Kia showcases their brand in ESPN and NBA press releases as you can see from the images.

I definitely think that event sponsorship is a great way to promote your brand. By choosing the right event, the company is not only going to increase your brand awareness but also securing the market with the frequent event audience by establishing a connection with the event, like KIA and NBA. This is very real because in January 2012, KIA’s sales increased 78% since the sponsorship started. Nothing is more convincing than seeing the actual sales going up and that number really says the effectiveness of a great sponsorship.

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