Saturday, May 26, 2012

Throughout the NBA playoffs over the past month, I've seen this ESPN commercial several times, about an ordinary man who happens to be named Michael Jordan. The 30-second commercial shows him in several situations where people have his name in reservations or orders--restaurant host, pizza delivery guy, car service, etc.--and expect the basketball legend to show up, only to display their disappointment when it's a middle-aged white guy.

Then this week, I saw the Michael Jordan in a surprising TV commercial. The NBA Hall of Famer and Charlotte Bobcats owner appears in a new commercial for Presbyterian Orthopaedic Hospital, where he seems to want to be a surgeon (it's actually quite humorous). It was surprising because I'd never seen Jordan in any ad campaigns for local companies before. But upon some Googling, I learned, according to Charlotte Business Journal, it's part of a recent 10-year sponsorship agreement between the Bobcats and both Presbyterian and its Winston-Salem-based parent company, Novant Health Inc., that also includes an endorsement deal with Jordan. Reportedly, the Bobcats have a new sponsorship program called Level 23 that charges companies a premium to tie their Bobcats sponsorships to Jordan specifically. Charlotte advertising and public relations agency Luquire George Andrews created the Jordan-Presbyterian campaign.

Jordan is said to own 80 percent of the NBA franchise after buying controlling interest from Bob Johnson in 2010, so with the Bobcats' financial losses continuing to mount, it makes sense (and cents) for MJ to add his star power to the team's brand, something he'd been reluctant to do while he was a minority owner under Johnson.


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