Today’s guest columnists are Sloane Cavitt Logue (right), an agent at WME overseeing digital and crossover initiatives for the agency’s Nashville office, and Shari Lewin, a partner at WME in the agency’s brand partnerships department who works out of the agency’s New York office.
The past year has been a busy one for our client, Chicago Bulls Hall of Fame legend Scottie Pippen, whose voice and image have been highly sought after by brands. While a good deal of that demand has been attributed to his appearance in last spring’s blockbuster documentary, The Last Dance, about the 1990s Bulls and Michael Jordan, that’s by no means the only reason.
There’s something else going on, something far broader. It’s there in the dictionary, under the definition of nostalgia: a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
This feeling has quickly grown to play a prominent role in the pop culture zeitgeist. Just check out the “Tell me you were born in the ’90s without telling me you were born in the ’90s” trend on TikTok. Or read some of Buzzfeed’s generational Top 10 lists. Or watch how Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine transformed the music business in The Defiant Ones.
During the last 12 months of uncertainty, people were using video conferencing platforms to reconnect with friends and family they hadn’t seen in years, re-watching their favorite TV shows on Netflix and generally looking for things that felt familiar and comfortable. This, coupled with the challenges brands faced in creating new content and producing big campaigns, led to many companies engaging with “throwback” talent for an immediate recognizability factor. The Super Bowl was filled with themes of nostalgia, from Uber Eats bringing back Wayne’s World with a cameo from Cardi B, Cheetos enlisting the help of Shaggy and his infamous song It Wasn’t Me, or Cadillac’s present-day take on Edward Scissorhands.
This leads us to the six-time NBA champion Pippen, who has been a fan favorite for decades, but may now be hotter than ever. Kylie Jenner recently shared a photo of her daughter Stormi wearing a 1993 Chicago Bulls World Championship shirt that is currently only available on eBay, which fans went crazy to find and buy. Oakley leaned in and partnered with Scottie to promote the re-release of a pair of their infamous sunglasses that he wore while celebrating the 1998 NBA Championship.
Even before The Last Dance, major brands had started to come to us for activations with Scottie, as they know he is an iconic, recognizable voice that people trust and find comfort in. It has only accelerated since. The meditation app, Calm, brought Scottie a voiceover opportunity for The History of a Dream. American Express then held a cardholder-only event during which Scottie talked about the launch with Calm, walking attendees through the meditation practice he used during his time in the NBA and while trying to maintain balance throughout 2020.
As people missed seeing fans in stadiums, Michelob Ultra leveraged Scottie’s unmistakable voice for TV commercials to get people excited for the restart of the NBA season, and to promote their “virtual seating,” with a few fans winning the chance to view the game with Scottie from the comfort of their homes. Fans loved feeling like they were sharing the same experience as Scottie, receiving the quarantine version of “VIP.”
To that point, this year was all about fans feeling like they had behind-the-scenes access, getting an inside look at the real lives of celebrities. Between everyone doing interviews from their living rooms and going live on Instagram from their kitchens, the barriers were broken down and people were able to see how many celebrities truly live. Architectural Digest and Samsung even did a partnership with Scottie to showcase his Chicago house—and of course, gave readers a sneak peek of his indoor basketball court.
As we move forward into 2021 with some semblance of normalcy on the horizon, and as fans start trickling back into stadiums and ballparks once again, we’re confident you’ll see much more of Scottie in the brand world, as fans’ embrace of nostalgia continues.
In addition to Scottie Pippen, Logue guides the careers of celebrities including Jessie James Decker, Alli Webb, Ingrid Andress, Adam Doleac, Lanie Gardner, Roan Ash, Landyn Hutchinson and Brittany Aldean. Lewin has been responsible for securing sponsorship/commercial endorsement opportunities for musicians including Dolly Parton, Luke Bryan, John Mayer and Andra Day.