The Golden State Warriors are set to tip-off against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2017 NBA Finals for the third-straight time. Tied at one game apiece, this year’s series represents the rubber match amongst these rivaled teams.
LeBron James, fresh off of breaking Michael Jordan’s all-time postseason scoring record, will make his seventh consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals to defend Cleveland’s title. The Cavaliers will face Golden State’s super team, whose addition of Kevin Durant to its already blue-chip lineup has given the Warriors the edge in the odds. The Finals will be closely followed as people tune in to find out which team will gain the upper hand in this championship rivalry.
From last year’s series, featuring the same teams with similar lineups, we’ve compiled the game time moments when people turned their attention to social media to create a list of the best social syncing opportunities for brands.
1. Championship Winner
This one is a no-brainer. When Cleveland defeated Golden State, people turned to social media to celebrate their elation or express their disappointment. People interested in Peet’s Coffee are interested in the Golden State Warriors while Coors Light is affiliated with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Each of these brands should be ready to celebrate their respective team’s championship or console the defeat in the last game of the series. By automatically syncing to this moment, a brand can be sure they’ve beaten its competitors to the punch.
2. LeBron James Dunks
LeBron had a number of buzzed-about highlights during the finals including 2 acrobatic dunks in Game 3 and Game 6. There are sure to be more during The Finals this year so have your brand be a part of the highlight reel by syncing your campaign to LeBron’s dunks. And, as the highest-scoring NBA player ever in the postseason, all of LeBron’s points will be getting attention so consider syncing with all of LeBron’s points.
3. Steph Curry 3’s
On the other side, nobody shoots from downtown like Steph Curry. In Game 4, Curry put up 38 points. Under Armor released a 3-second ad every time Curry hit a 3 during the playoffs last year. Take advantage of greatest 3-point shooter in the game for your brand by syncing ads any time Curry drains it from deep.
4. Flagrant & Technical Fouls
Last year, following a couple of high kicks earlier in the playoffs and a scuffle with LeBron in Game 4, Draymond Green received a flagrant 1 and was suspended for Game 5 of The The Finals. The series of events made for heyday on social media. Heated rivalry, high stakes, and a history of issues are a recipe for more share-worthy flagrant and technical fouls this series.
5. Kyrie Irving Points
Kyrie Irving hit the go-ahead 3 to deliver the victory for the Cavaliers last year which led to 1.6 million engagements. People engaging with Irving are more likely to be strong Cleveland fans than people engaging with LeBron. As a result, brands looking to make a strong impact among Cleveland supporters would be better off syncing campaigns to Kyrie’s scores.
6. Kevin Durant Points
Kevin Durant is one of the most popular players in the NBA. While he wasn’t a part of The Finals last year, he’s received over 8.8 million engagements this year. Like LeBron and Curry, he’s a player-to-watch and people will be talking about his performance in the championship series.
7. End of the Quarter & Timeouts
Don’t limit your brand to only one buzzer. Sync with the end of each quarter when engagement spikes. Breaks are when people turn their attention to social media to find out what people are saying and relive the best game moments so far. Campaigns can even be synced with team timeouts to take advantage of those unscheduled moments. Even if your brand doesn’t have a strong affiliation with either team, these game breaks are great moments to promote your brand take advantage of the increased attention on social.
8. Fouling Out
Whether it’s in the House of Representatives, at a sporting arena, or on social media, there’s no better way to taunt your opponent than with Steam lyrics. One of the most talked about moments during the 2016 NBA Finals was when Steph Curry fouled out in Game 6 and throwing his mouthguard in frustration, hit a fan. A great time to capture the attention of NBA fans on the second screen is when star athletes foul out.
Tact is critical for a brand, but social engagement spikes during injuries. When the athletes are sidelined due to a possible injury, people seek status updates on social media. Last year, both sides lost key players when Kevin Love and Andrew Bogut suffered injuries that forced them to sit out during The Finals. Injuries are a chance to take advantage of increased social attention, just don’t exploit the misfortune of others.
10. Opening Tipoff
Each game is a new beginning with new strategies. Social media is where sports fans will place their predictions for what’s going to happen for the series and during each game. Opening tip is a great chance to make an impression on optimistic NBA fans sharing their hopes for The Finals.
Last year, Game 7 of The Finals peaked at more than 44.5 million viewers making the event relevant to brands of all types. To be successful at capturing the attention of The Finals audience brands must also take advantage of how people are consuming media. By syncing social ads with these moments that drive social engagement, brands can deliver timely messaging to the channel audiences are leaning into.