Off Court Champs
Social Impact & Sustainability | Influencer Marketing | Brand
The campaign aims to address how Black men are represented in culture, taking a symbol of stereotypical success and transforming it into portraits of inspiration. It illustrates the off-court successes of athletes on bespoke basketballs, putting them in the hands of the next generation, to challenge stereotypes and inspire future possibilities.
Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Black men have continued to face disproportionate levels of discrimination and misrepresentation. In 2021, brand research showed that white people were more likely to see Black men as athletes over any other profession. This one-dimensional stereotype around Black men’s physicality is harmful.
Our objective was to drive a lasting impact for Black men and the next generation by dismantling harmful stereotypes, in an effort to create a world where Black men are cared for, respected, and supported.
After identifying a group of former and current student athletes turned CEOs, artists, doctors, teachers, and more, who prioritize care over everything, we worked with artist Kingsley Nebechi to design 10 bespoke basketballs that highlighted their individual stories and achievements.
Each illustration was crafted to reflect the multi-dimensional story of each man, revealing intimate details about their dreams, passions, and care, off the court. They were printed on blank canvas basketballs through a proprietary water-based process.
We leveraged one of the largest cultural and sporting moments in the U.S., the March Madness college basketball tournament, as our lightning rod moment to draw attention to the issue.
Through a partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, we delivered the balls directly to students throughout the U.S. We also highlighted these designs, and the stories that inspired them, through earned media outreach and through the influencers themselves.
The campaign resulted in Dove Men+Care retaining 1st place in awareness for the men’s overall personal care & grooming category. Leveraging earned media and social conversation, we drove a lift in favorability, ad recall and ‘Brand Power’ scores.
- 96% of placements included a link to the film or an image of the basketballs.
- Placements include Today, Yahoo, USA Today, Forbes, CBS Sports.
- 32 organic social posts highlighting the balls.
- Across 26 posts: over 145,000 impressions, over 4,000 engagements and nearly 12,000 video views.
- Across 71 posts: nearly 27,000 engagements, 500,000 impressions and 221,000 video views.
- Connected with more than 200 high school students from 10 different cities.