- T-Mobile's prepaid wireless brand Metro is running a social influencer campaign for the NBA playoffs that challenges fans to a game of H-O-R-S-E, according to a company announcement.
- To enter, contestants must follow one or more basketball influencers Tristan Jass, Jesser, Kris London and Cash on Instagram, who on Monday of each week during the playoffs will demonstrate a challenging basketball shot. After videotaping themselves performing the shot, mobile users are encouraged to post the video on social media with the hashtag #MetroFreak.
- After five weeks, each influencer will choose a winner from the video submissions to be their teammate in a June tournament. The four teams will then compete against one another, with the winner receiving a trip to meet Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks — the "Greek Freak" who gives the campaign its name — at a TV commercial shoot.
Metro by T-Mobile, which in September changed its name from MetroPCS five years after T-Mobile's acquisition, aims to stand out in the crowded market for prepaid wireless plans that not only includes major rivals AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, but also brands like Boost, AT&T's Cricket, FreeUp, H20, Mint, TracFone and US Cellular, among others. By partnering with social influencers, Metro can cut through the ad clutter and reach an audience of social media-savvy young adults who tend to be difficult to reach with traditional media such as TV and print.
By launching the campaign during the NBA playoffs, which began on April 13 and lead up to the NBA Finals in late May, Metro is aiming to engage young basketball fans, especially those that follow individual players or trick-shooters like Jass (who has 1.1 million followers on Instagram) and Jesser (who has more than 500,000) on social media.
While other brands including Busch and JetBlue have recently run similar social media contests, Metro's requires skill and could go viral as fans tune in to the basketball games and share their own versions of impressive trick shots inspired by the participating influencers.
T-Mobile has embraced influencer marketing as part of a broader strategy to be a "social-first" brand and better connect with young consumers that are less likely to be brand loyal than previous generations.
"We believe that focusing on social-first content and campaigns lays the groundwork for success," Michael Miller, VP of creative experience at T-Mobile, told the Association of National Advertisers last year.