Shanghai: DDB Shanghai has launched a new campaign for Gatorade that takes an ancient Chinese military classic, The 36 Stratagems, to the world of street basketball. DDB’s campaign consisted of a TVC, launched in mid-May in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and a viral video that was launched through social media platforms QQ Sports, Sina Microblog, Tom Sports and Hoop China. The TVC will also air nationwide on channel CCTV5 during the NBA finals this week.
To engage with its young (16-24 years old) and sports enthusiastic target in China, Gatorade has partnered up with S.K.Y. Streetball Syndicate to host the Ultimate Streetball Challenge competition, a nationwide grassroots competition to identify the best players in China. The idea was to enfold The 36 Stratagems around street basketball skills to further challenge, engage and appeal to target consumers, especially those that love to play the game.
The 36 Stratagems is a sister text to the legendary Art of War by Sun Tzu and describes unorthodox or deceptive ruses used in politics, warfare, and civil interaction. The campaign leveraged on the well-known Chinese idioms (“stratagems”) from the text and applied them to the competitive, gritty world of Chinese street basketball, where players need every deceptive trick or skill they possess to score the next point.
DDB Shanghai’s campaign, which stars members of the S.K.Y. team, some of the best professional streetball players in the world, along with China’s most famous streetball player Wu You, launches off the competition by using an innovative and fresh concept that gives viewers something they want to play with, participate in and pass along.
In the TVC and viral video, the players use several tricks from The 36 Stratagems to get past their opposition, aided by the refreshing and replenishing power of Gatorade. Stratagems such as “Make a sound in the east, then strike in the west”, “The cicada sheds its skin”, and “The beauty trap” are used in creative and skillful ways. Alongside the viral video on QQ Sports, DDB encouraged viewers to upload videos of their own streetball skills that fit into one of the 36 Stratagems. The best three entrants will be chosen by Gatorade to participate in a national streetball training camp.
“Combining the ideas of The 36 Stratagems with streetball skills made the campaign more fun and relatable to today’s Chinese youth. We wanted to provide a platform that personalizes streetball moves with the Chinese culture of ‘multiple tactics’ – where players could publicly showcase their individual skills and tricks but also breathe new life into the ancient Chinese idea of ‘36 Stratagems’,” said Jesse Lin, President of DDB Shanghai Group.
“China has over 300 million basketball fans and players, 99% of who have played some form of streetball. Basketball is the most penetrated sport for Gatorade’s target market, and I’m confident that with this campaign, we’ll be able to build stronger links between Gatorade and sports occasion consumption,” said Paul Hong, Senior Marketing Manager of Gatorade.