What marketers can learn from the 2008 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Over the weekend, the NBA had its All-Star Weekend  which featured the Slam Dunk Contest. Now, from what I’ve seen, slam dunks are much of a muchness.

In past contests, I’ve seen the same dunks, or variations of those dunks, done harder, higher, faster stronger with more rotations, ball-pumps, having someone stand in the way of the basket.

And they’re great – as the players get more athletic, the dunks get more spectacular.

But it’s hard to differentiate between them and Dwight “Superman” Howard’s dunks were nothing like anything anyone had ever seen before.

When the rest of the market is racing to become more efficient and refine one product, marketers need to change the game.

Innovate; don’t replicate.

Case study:

Nintendo realized it couldn’t compete with other gaming platforms in terms of power and graphics. So it decided not to. It decided to compete with the standard remote control. Nintendo declined to play a game where it was just one of three competitors with no real differentiators and decided to play a game it was assured of winning – because it was the only one playing.

The only question was how big the spoils were. For Dwight Howard and Nintendo, the spoils were pretty big.


2 Responses to What marketers can learn from the 2008 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

  1. brian says:

    i have to say.. after the early 90’s the dunk competition went pretty down hill.. at least he got original like you said.. but what are they going to do next year?

  2. felix says:

    Next, they may as well become innovative with it. I would like to see someone dunk in the contest using a George W. Bush mask and missing the dunk altogether!

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