Credit Coca-Cola with a great PR stunt with their plans to put Coke ads in Chinese on the rotating courtside signs at Madison Square Garden. Obviously it’s a blatant (and brilliant) exploitation of Jeremy Lin – and Coke gets the association without even having to sign Lin to an endorsement deal and pay him.

It’s a traditional case of added publicity with an ad buy – as clearly MSG isn’t the place to reach a high volume of consumers who read Chinese – it’s a chance to get tons of free publicity around an advertising buy.  The ads wont be up more than a few months maximum – and the cost of the ad buys has already likely been recouped with all of the free publicity they have received already.

As a Coke spokesperson said “Given that the NBA is a global association for our company and that we do a lot of cross-cultural marketing around the NBA, we agreed.”

She also could have said “It’s a great stunt, sure to get us a ton of free media coverage, and we can be mentioned in a ton of articles about Jeremy Lin, and not pay him. It’s a brilliant PR stunt.”  I would have agreed had she said that.

This might a deeper play, where brands become more obvious with how they align people and products.


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