Before Kobe Bryant’s epic, 20-year NBA career, he was a little kid with a big dream, and Dear Basketball, launched on Verizon’s original platforms, is his heartfelt ode to the sport that made him a superstar.

With Dear Basketball, our objective was simple, but daunting: win the short film an Academy Award, and do so while inspiring the passion inside millions of consumers. Because the animation branch heavily favors artistic value over star power, we had to emphasize our credentials and our quality, as well as the passionate emotion at the center of our story.

By finding something that everyone could identify with, we activated an emotion-led campaign that utilized everything from press, trade advertising, social media, screenings with in-person Q&As, festivals, and targeted digital advertising using our proprietary adtech to reach voters.

Our Approach

For the Love of

the Game

Our holistic approach used every tactic under the sun to get the film noticed by the right people at the right time, without drawing too much attention to itself and thus undermining the film’s success with Academy voters. Our trade campaign tapped tools such as digital ad tech, social media and email marketing to drive conversation, while the consumer outreach raised awareness without showboating. An invite-only roadshow reached industry leaders and voters.

With the help of Rogers & Cowan, Dear Basketball won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, as well as a plethora of other accolades, including an Annie and a Sports Emmy. It was selected as the Best Short Film in the World Animation Festival and issued the festival’s first-ever Special Jury Award for its high quality.


We Shoot We Score with an Academy Award Win!