By Michael Ardaiolo
The NBA Playoffs start tomorrow.
For Chinese fans, this might act as yet another reminder that their once dominant basketball superstar is retired and now back in school here in Shanghai. His heir apparent, Yi Jianlian, averaged a whopping 2.6 points and 1.6 rebounds in 30 games for the Dallas Mavericks this year and is stuck behind Brandon Wright (Who? Exactly.) in their rotation. The Taiwanese sensation Jeremy Lin would be the saving grace for Chinese broadcasters trying to up their viewers-per-household, but he is out with a knee injury until at least the second round. The NY Knicks will have to get through the Miami Heat in the first round for that to happen.
How could CCTV 5 possibly market this year’s early morning broadcasts to ho-hum Chinese fans? Dynasty Warriors, that’s how!
CCTV outdid itself this year with an amazing commercial pitting NBA clans against each other. Each team gets their own flag, Han Dynasty-era watchtowers and a small army of traditionally dressed soldiers. Signature players also get their own set of armor and awesomely oversized weapon: Dwight Howard swings a giant mace (which is more action than he will actually get in the playoffs), Kevin Durant poses with a massive sword and Kobe Bryant hangs in the air as he spits off three arrows at a time.
Most of the players are somewhat recognizable, though there are a few curiosities: is that Ronnie Brewer holding fort for the Bulls? Regardless, well done CCTV. Not only have you successfully amped this audience, but you have also started a meme across the pond. Not bad for a 30-second spot.