LeBron James Boston Billboard Ad a Tacky, Yet Brilliant Marketing Move by Powerade


LeBron James Boston Billboard Ad a Tacky, Yet Brilliant Marketing Move by PoweradeA lot of Bostonians might opt for a Gatorade the next time they hit up their local 7/11. That’s because Powerade apparently saved some salt from its manufacturing to throw directly into Celtics fans’ fresh wounds.

An electronic billboard along I-93 in Medford, Mass., just three miles from the TD Garden, congratulates Miami Heat forward LeBron James on winning the NBA championship. Not exactly the type of thing New Englanders want to see on their way to work each day, especially after Ray Allen already made matters worse by signing with the Eastern Conference rival this week.

Chalk it up as a bad week. Chalk it up as a bad month even, as the Celtics’ Game 7 loss down in South Beach is still fresh in the minds of many. But once Celtics fans dump out their remaining Powerade and shake their fists at the heavens — or LeBron’s gigantic face — they can see the billboard ad for what it really is: Smart marketing.

Whether Powerade is using some sick sense of humor, or it simply slipped up and didn’t fully assess the excecution of its ad campaign, we’re talking about Powerade. In a competition — Gatorade vs. Powerade — in which athletes come and go, and consumers generally opt for the more easily accessible drink choice, the attention should be welcomed.

Now, don’t get me wrong, contrary to what some may say, not all publicity is good publicity. Companies aren’t exactly clamoring over the opportunity to get thrown into the limelight because of some affiliation with a criminal, major mishap or something even more unsavory. This situation, however, involves none of those and, while controversial, is actually quite harmless. Celtics fans moan and groan, but Heat fans chuckle, and it’s all a part of sports — the very essence of which Powerade captures with this ad.

Is it tacky on Powerade’s end? Yeah, a little bit, especially if it was done with the intention of ruffling some feathers. But it’s hardly enough to steer the rest of the nation away from the popular sports drink en masse, regardless of how much hatred there is for LeBron in nearly every crevice of the nation. Controversy is typically something to avoid, but this particular instance isn’t the worst thing that could have happened for Powerade, as it at least shows a willingness to push the envelope. Unfortunately for Celtics fans, it’s at their expense.

Sure, like I said, a few Bostonians may go out of their way to stretch their arm a little bit further the next time they’re in the drink aisle in order to grab Powerade’s competitor. But from a national standpoint, the added attention immediately ensures the pros of such a marketing decision outweigh the cons. I mean, come on, do you really think anyone besides Heat fans and Celtics fans is going to have much of a response? Other than seeing Powerade’s name in headlines more frequently, or hearing the name more often (all good things), probably not. Therefore, it could actually be a beneficial roll of the dice for Powerade.

Think about it. When else and why else would we be chirping about Powerade right now, unless of course we’re actually in line at the store looking to cool down amidst a heat wave? (Seriously, no pun intended there.) Yet here we are with many people making what is essentially something out of nothing.

So Celtics fans, don’t be angry. You can pound your steering wheel all you want while driving down I-93, but just make sure you realize that a Celtic’s face could overhang I-95 in Miami roughly a year from now.

That’s if the folks over at Powerade are as smart as they appear.

LeBron James Boston Billboard Ad a Tacky, Yet Brilliant Marketing Move by Powerade

Photo via Facebook/POWERADE ION4

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