NBA stars assist FedEx global campaign

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Five foreign National Basketball Association players will promote FedEx Corp.'s international shipping capabilities in an advertising and marketing campaign titled "Go Around the World With FedEx."
This is the second time FedEx has teamed with NBA foreign players, called the "FedEx Global Leaders," to deliver its international message. The first was in the 2004-05 NBA season. This year's lineup adds Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko (Russia) and San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (Argentina), while returning endorsers are two-time NBA MVP and Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash (Canada), Spurs guard Tony Parker (France) and New Orleans Hornets forward Peja Stojakovic (Serbia).
"We are very excited to have formed a strategic alliance with the NBA that connects our international business to the NBA's global popularity and its growing number of international players," said Chris Swearingen, manager of sponsorship marketing for FedEx.
FedEx, Memphis, TN, selects partners that address specific revenue, sales force and employee goals, he said.
"The key target for [the NBA] sponsorship is U.S. outbound decision makers," he said. "The sponsorship is built around a platform that uses the international scope and popularity of the NBA to promote the global nature of the FedEx business."
During the season, the players will be used in various national ad and marketing executions including direct mail. FedEx is finalizing its plans, but said it has placed print ads in USA Today. Mr. Swearingen said FedEx is targeting small businesses and its international customers.
FedEx's lead agency is BBDO, New York, but Velocity Sports and Entertainment , Norwalk, CT, is the lead agency on the program. FedEx also is working with Memphis-based Signature Advertising for print ads on the program and Tank Design, Cambridge, MA, which will create materials for direct mail and online channels and spearhead a multichannel customer shipping incentive program using the NBA sponsorship.
The carrier is giving fans a chance to win a free trip around the world as part of an online sweepstakes that began Jan. 2 on its newly renovated page on ( Contestants vote on top plays of the week from international NBA players. They also can win weekly prizes such as autographed jerseys.
The FedEx Global Leaders will be part of FedEx's participation during the NBA All-Star Game week in February in Las Vegas. During the week, they will be joined by other NBA foreign stars to host basketball clinics for fans at the FedEx Global Village at NBA All-Star Jam Session, a five-day interactive fan festival.
The FedEx Global Village will consist of an "Around the World Court," a half-court with shooting locations marked by landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower; a newsroom for international media events and player interviews; a video gaming area featuring the international versions of NBA Live '07; computer kiosks allowing visitors to explore, Espanol, France, Global and Canada; and plasma TVs that will display international game coverage from China, Australia, Spain, France and Serbia.
"The global growth of the game combined with FedEx as a global commerce enabler allows us to effectively communicate the FedEx global network to our customers," Mr. Swearingen said.

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