Posted by Tyler Hustwick 1 year, 4 months ago

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This week, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship in dramatic fashion, defeating the Golden State Warriors in seven games. Immediately following the game, social media was ablaze with fans (and brands) leaping to share their congratulations with the Cavaliers and its players. 

While “bandwagon” fans — those that support the most successful team and/or player of the moment — are nothing new in sports, it was surprising to see so many brands rush into the Cavaliers/LeBron foray.

Brands such as Nike — who has strong endorsement ties to Cavaliers players, such as LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love — went all out in its marketing efforts with it’s “Believe” campaign. This included a prime-time, nationally televised spot applauding the Cavaliers’ victory on behalf of the entire state of Ohio, as well as limited edition shoes and apparel honoring LeBron, and various signage around the city of Cleveland — including this giant banner outside the Cavaliers’ arena.

However, Nike wasn’t alone in its commemorative efforts, Beats by Dre also immediately released this nationally televised commercial congratulating brand endorser LeBron James on his latest Finals MVP. 

Given their endorsement ties to LeBron, marketing efforts like the ones from Nike and Beats are to be expected — the brands are simply capitalizing on the opportunity of a high visibility moment for its endorsee; it’s a no-brainer.

But it wasn’t just brands with actual endorsement ties to ‘King James’ and the Cavaliers who jumped in on the trending opportunity — Cholula Hot Sauce desperately wanted in on the fun, so much so that they created this uninspired social post:

Even the Keebler Elf had some congratulatory words for LeBron:

What’s the lesson here? Just because it’s a trending at the moment, brands shouldn't feel compelled to take part, especially when they don’t have any real ties to the topic. There's plenty of “noise” these days, particularly on social media — so let’s try to keep the brandwagoning to a minimum? 

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