American Express forges connections with cardmembers and potential customers by delivering experiences that speak to passion points like art, music and sports. From Feb. 16-18, the brand took the approach to NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, where a series of basketball-centric installations supplemented by cultural and artistic components offered fans a unique perspective on the game.
American Express has a long-standing partnership with the NBA, so All-Star Weekend was not a new endeavor for the financial services provider. But with the event set in L.A., a key market for American Express, it was important to reach as many consumers as possible. To that end, the brand ensured that its activation was inclusive of both die-hards and casual hoops fans.
The experience tipped off inside a branded building on South Hope Street in downtown L.A. Upon entering the venue, attendees were met with a light show of sorts stemming from a replica basketball court featuring 220 feet of LED lighting on acrylic backboards, which were fully programmable, and 1,700 feet of wiring. The introductory space then led to an “Exploded Floorboards” portal comprised of over 1,100 individual pieces of wood. The installation served as a “dissecting and deconstructing of the game of basketball,” and added an element of drama as fans approached the next stage of the activation.
On the other side of the portal, a room filled with 18 glittering Chandelier Hoops awaited. The handmade crystal chandeliers were attached to standard basketball rim bases and offered attendees 9,000 individual crystals to admire. And then it was on to the final three engagements of the experience.
The Vault, which attendees entered through a classic round vault door, tapped into American Express’s partnership with the L.A. Lakers and Shaquille O’Neal. There, fans could sit on a golden throne with a prop crown (a popular photo op), check out a jersey signed by Shaq and explore Lakers memorabilia. Over in the Infinity Room, attendees could insert themselves into a basketball-themed art installation. Finally, a Crash the Boards photo op channeled Shaq’s famous backboard-breaking dunks. Fans were invited to pose hanging off of a hoop attached to a shattered backboard, and immediately received the image for sharing across their social channels.
“Fans care about what players are wearing, what players are doing,” says Lisa Kahn, director-global partnership strategy, teams & venues at American Express. “It’s a cultural moment and they want to know everything about the game and the extensions of the game. We felt that the best way to bring that to life was through an immersive experience that tapped into our heritage as a service brand and trying to build unique and creative moments for cardmembers and fans alike to take advantage of.” Agency: Momentum Worldwide, New York City.