Friday, January 16, 2009

NBA Stars Go Viral for Votes

If presidential candidates can campaign successfully on the internet, why can't athletes?

NBA players went all out for the annual All-Star Game with online campaigns to garner votes for roster spots. Positions are decided partially by fan votes as well as coaches' votes.

Last year the Toronto Raptors' Chris Bosh received headlines (and votes) from his YouTube video that parodied a used-car salesman (at right). Encouraging fans to vote him into the NBA All-Star game, Bosh's video has been viewed more than 685,000 times and the star forward was selected to the 2008 West team.

New year, new online campaigns...
  • Amar'e Stoudemire - RESULT: Starter
  • Devin Harris - YouTube RESULT: Selected as a reserve
  • Joe Alexander - RESULT: Just missed dunk contest selection to...
  • Rudy Fernandez - Dunks on YouTube (below) RESULT: Selected for dunk contest

The internet is a vast space with plenty of room for fans to support players (whether they deserve it or not). Take Knicks guard Stephon Marbury. "Starbury" hasn't played a game all season, but had no less than five fan sites lobbying on his behalf for All-Star votes. Count for yourself: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Five! Ah, ah, ah! (Best Count Chocula laugh)

More impressive than a player who hasn't suited up for a game this season making the All-Star ballot, is the online support for him. Yet another demonstration of the changing face of media and the influence of user-generated content on business and society today.

Look for this social media campaigning to continue over the years, not only with sports stars and politicians, but with musicians, artists, religious advocates, organizations, groups, schools, businesses, governments and individuals - everybody. That's not a half court heave. It's a slam dunk guarantee.


Addition to original post: announces the 2009 All-Star starters.

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