Thursday night, during Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sony aired two ads to promote its upcoming “Ghostbusters” film using basketball greats, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony.
Basketball fans on the West Coast saw a spot featuring Bryant at his offices in Los Angeles, “Kobe Inc,” receive an important call prompting him to get all decked out in ghostbusters gear, with his suit sporting his nickname “Mamba.”
“Everyone wondered what Kobe would do after the NBA,” said Josh Greenstein, president of worldwide marketing and distribution for Sony Pictures. “Now we know — he’s a Ghostbuster.”
On the East Coast, audiences saw New York Knicks, Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, alongside Walt “Clyde” Frazier and Spike Lee at an empty Madison Square Garden with Slimer throwing hotdogs at them in the stands.
“Filming in an empty MSG added to the ambiance of the shoot,” said Carrie Brzezinski, ESPN CreativeWorks’ VP of marketing solutions. “It’s such a massive, storied space with many of its own ‘ghosts.’ Between shots, we delved into some really heady issues, like what Slimer might eat if he really did haunt MSG. In the original movie, he famously took over a hot dog vendor at Rockefeller Center, so hot dogs would be my guess — he’s into that old school New York street food.”
Sony’s efforts are to attract male audiences to watch the female-led cast since it has been receiving backlash from angry male fans upset over the reboot. The first trailer was also named the most disliked movie trailer in YouTube history, though the studio dismissed those ratings by saying it was the work of hater groups who were fueling readers to dislike the trailer on purpose.
Though, support has come for the film with director Judd Apatow calling out the “angry trolls” and original Ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd praising the new film as “brilliant.”
“Ghostbusters” arrives in theaters on July 15.
Watch the NBA ads below:
— ESPN (@espn) June 3, 2016