For the first time ever under new Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John, Uber is launching a national advertisement campaign, with Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball starring in the first 60-second spot that hit Monday.
The advertisement campaign, which is dubbed “Rolling with the Champion,” features ESPN’s Cari Champion driving around Ball and teammate Kyle Kuzma, who added it was the first time he had ridden in an UberPOOL. Uber’s new spots are in partnership with UNINTERRUPTED, the digital media company founded in 2014 by Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James and business partner Maverick Carter.
When asked by Champion how it feels to be the most talked about rookie in the NBA, Ball said “It has its pros and cons. It’s a lot of attention. It’s tough to go places now. You don’t really get too much peace and quiet. It’s nice to have fans and people you know that’s in your corner.”
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Ball, whose profile has continued to grow digitally through a family-centric docuseries on Facebook along with newly-introduced Big Baller Brand emojis, added that despite being popular locally while attending UCLA, that all changed once he joined the Lakers.
“Lakers is known globally, so it’s a lot different from being in college at UCLA,” he said. “Obviously around Westwood and stuff, you’re popular. Not when you go to Hawaii. I went to Hawaii, and everybody knew me out there. I was like, ‘Dang’. They’re all die-hard Lakers fans. Just the Lakers brand itself definitely adds a lot of popularity to your name.”
In the coming months, Uber will release other NBA-focused spots with retired guard Chauncey Billups, Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and 10-time NBA All-Star Paul Pierce, all of whom will be riding with Champion.
Throughout the calendar year, Uber has continued its investment in sports. This fall, Uber created 17 regional spots for NFL teams where it’s the official ride-share company. Additionally, the brand announced in January its first global team partnership with Manchester United, with the multi-year deal also including exclusive team content via the brand app.
Overall, Uber currently has 75-plus U.S. sports team deals around the MLB, NHL, NFL and NBA in addition to major venues.
Below is the full four-minute clip of Ball and Kuzma joining Champion.
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