Love & Basketball & Marketing: Lessons from Our Favorite Movies

March 6, 2018 Melissa Ledesma

March Madness is on the horizon. In the spirit of the game, we asked members of Team DMS to share their favorite basketball movies and identify a marketing lesson that each teaches. From overcoming Goliath to avoiding gimmicks, the list compiled below reminds us to all be our best all the time.

Do you have a favorite sports movie that teaches a good marketing lesson? Share it in the comments section below this post.


Blue Chips ― You Can’t Just Buy Your Customers
Basketball Players on BenchMarc Loreti, Vice President of Business Development, Digital Media Solutions

In Blue Chips, Pete Bell’s team isn’t winning, and player recruitment becomes a challenge. Out of desperation, Pete allows for the bribe of prospective players. After confessing to his infraction, Pete’s team is suspended, and we’re reminded that you cannot just buy your players… or your customers. They have to believe in your brand. With the rise of social media and the fight for followers, the practice of buying fans has been used by many. But time and time again, marketers realize unengaged followers do not lead to marketing success.


White Man Taking Jump ShotWhite Men Can’t Jump ― Don’t Make Assumptions
Anthony Nater, Senior Product Manager, Sparkroom Technology

Billy Hoyle (played by Woody Harrelson) makes his living in White Men Can’t Jump by hustling people who assume he has weak basketball skills because of his ethnicity. Marketing used to rely on assumptions, but with the prevalence of data today, there is no excuse for basing campaigns on a foundation of guesses.


Hoosiers ― Believe You Can Beat Goliath
Jon DelRusso, Account Director, DMS Digital AgencyChihuahua Looking Tough

 Hoosiers tells a classic sports story: you don’t need to be the biggest to be the champion. In this movie, the small Huskers team, believing that all obstacles can be overcome, focuses on basics of the game. In the end, they beat a taller, more athletic team to become state champions.


Sunset Park ― Make Your Message Easy to Remember
Jody Bradshaw, Senior Technical Account Manager, Digital Media Solutions

Phyllis Saroka doesn’t know anything about basketball, despite her position as the new coach of the boys’ basketball team for Sunset Park High School. While letting the players run the team (until she finally decides to learn the game), Phyllis regularly repeats, “It’s time to get live, it’s time to represent!” The message did not define their talent, but – like a successful marketing tagline – its simplicity and repetition created a unified and loyal team.


Love and BasketballLove & Basketball ― Make a Plan to Get What You Want
Jessica Rogers, VP Culture, Digital Media Solutions

Monica and Quincy, the main characters of Love & Basketball both dream of playing professional basketball. Quincy, the son of a former L.A. Clippers player, has the easy path to success. Meanwhile, Monica has to work hard to repeatedly establish herself, overcoming obstacles at each level of play. In the end, Monica makes it to the WNBA because she stayed focused on her objective. In marketing, it’s easy to get swept up with the latest viral craze, but brands that keep their eyes on the ball will be more likely to succeed.


Teen Wolf ― Don’t Rely on a Gimmick
Stephen Galgocy, Senior SEO & UX Specialist, Digital Media Solutions

After teen wolf Scott Howard becomes the star of the basketball team, his high school is overcome with “Wolf Fever.” While Scott likes his bold, wolfy persona and the respect it garners, the gimmick becomes tiresome. In the final basketball game of the season, Scott plays as a human and helps win the game. In marketing, a gimmick may work to raise awareness, but long-term reliance on a shtick is a weak strategy. Make sure your message and customer serviced convey the purpose of your brand to generate brand loyalty and repeat business.


Baseketball ― Create the Product People Want
Ross Bucholc, Director of Paid Media, DMS Digital Agency

Starring South Park creators Trey Parker & Matt Stone, Baseketball is based on the premise that over-sponsorship of professional sports resulted in declining audience interest. Baseketball, invented at a party, is a brand new sport developed based on what spectators (not sponsors) want, and it is instantly successful at generating loyal fans. This (admittedly silly) movie is a reminder to check in with your audience regularly. Make sure the product or service you’re providing is in alignment with your customers’ needs and wants.


Air Bud ― If You Have a Hook that Works, Keep Using It
Suzy Stejskal, Director of Client Services, DMS Digital AgencyPuppy with Basketball

Premiering in 1997, Air Bud was the first in a series of more than ten movies that feature five adorable golden retrievers. Produced on a $3 million budget, this first Bud installment generated $28 million box office revenue. Although most subsequent Bud movies went straight to video, the Bud dogs have an extensive following, including their own Official Buddies site. If your brand has a core message that continues to resonate with your target market, keep it. Don’t make changes for the sake of change.



BONUS! Cheerleading Movie with a Marketing Lesson

Cheerleader PyramidBring It On ― Plagiarism Is Not a Long-Term Strategy
Rachel Schulties, Executive Vice President, DMS Digital Agency

Torrance Shipman arrives at Rancho Carne High School the first day of her senior year eager to begin her reign as captain of the five-time winning cheerleading team. But there is something Torrance has yet to discover: their routine is stolen. The Toros were guilty of the “we’ve always done things this way” strategy. Although Torrance initially faced opposition when she told her team it was time to change, in the end they united behind a long-term strategy of investing in themselves and their brand.

Were you at LeadsCon this week? Check out Hoops Madness recap. 

And don’t forget to vote for your favorite campaign in DMS Marketing Madness. Each week of March, we are highlighting four innovative campaigns. The winner each week will move on to the DMS Marketing Madness Final Four, announced on March 30. The winner of the final four will be crowned DMS Marketing Madness Champion the following week.


About the Author

Melissa Ledesma

An innovative problem solver by nature, Melissa Ledesma is both experienced and passionate about the digital marketing industry. She has held a number of high-level positions within the real estate, mortgage, entertainment and digital advertising industries, including Director of PR and Business Development at NJ Lenders Corp. and Director of Communications & Government Affairs at Eastern Bergen County Board of Realtors. As Director of Content & Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), Melissa demonstrates a strategic, creative and tactical approach when handling the thought leadership programs and marketing and communications efforts for DMS and its family of brands. She manages all conferences, sponsorships and event execution and plays a pivotal role in the creation of written, digital and video content for all campaigns. Melissa has consistently positioned the team at DMS as experts in performance marketing across multiple industries.

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