Wilson's Connected Basketball Attracts 'Techies'

Motion-activated LED displays give innovative sports product an in-store presence

BRAND: Wilson

KEY INSIGHT: Teenage hoopsters and their parents want to improve the players’ skills.

ACTIVATION: A “high-tech” display shows how the Wilson X connected basketball can make that happen. Extensive digital activity supports the effort.

Chicago — Wilson Sporting Goods’ Wilson X connected basketball is not your father’s basketball. It features a smart sensor that tracks shots and provides players with feedback on their performance. Specifically, it tracks makes, misses and shot range, so players can analyze the data to improve their game. The sensor connects wirelessly with a Wilson X app via Bluetooth.

When it came time to develop an in-store display, Wilson Sporting Goods wanted something that reflected the high-tech aspects of the product. To that end, the company worked with Concept Designs, Palo Alto, California, to create a display featuring motion-activated LED lighting effects that call attention to the product while reinforcing its advantages. “The Wilson X connected basketball is an innovative product that needs a comparable high-tech, modern look and feel to its presence in-store,” says Nick Gonzales, Wilson product marketing manager. “The display we created with Concept Designs communicates all the important technical features of the product, and does so in the sleek, ‘techie’ and contemporary tone that Wilson X embodies.”

The Wilson X is designed for teenage basketball players who want to improve their clutch shooting skills and game-time confidence. The product display was designed to “talk to” these teenage hoopsters as well as their parents.

“We knew that Wilson X would be a highly researched item; it’s not an impulse purchase,” Gonzales says. “The display needed to stop people in their tracks, but also give them a good understanding of all the features and benefits that the product offers.”

The powder-coated steel and acrylic shelf-top display holds an inflated sample ball, with feature/benefit information printed on the panel. Etched lines that connect graphic areas on the faceplate are illuminated by motion-activated LED strips, which provide a glow around the ball and call attention to the ball and graphic elements.

“The motion-activated LEDs bring the display visually to life by illuminating both the ball and the feature benefit information etched into the acrylic. The graphic treatment echoes video game display imagery, which also creates a draw to the target customer,” says Larry Rockwell, director, business development, Concept Designs.

Wilson Sporting Goods first contacted Concept Designs in May 2015. The first run of displays was rolled out in November 2015 to selected Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sports Authority and Academy Sports stores. In addition to these brick-and-mortar retailers, and sell the product.

Each piece of advertising or content in the marketing campaign drove consumers to one of these locations so they could research the product. In addition, online content – including Amazon’s Holiday Gift Guide and Dick’s Sporting Goods blog posts and social support – helped develop awareness, interest and demand for the product.

“In addition to making a strong presentation for the Wilson X in-store, each retail partner worked with us to build a footprint on their own websites,” Gonzales says. “Extensive product information – too much to communicate on an in-store piece – was communicated on these websites, providing more valuable information for the potential purchaser.”

For competitive reasons, Wilson Sporting Goods would not share details on the marketing budget or financial goals of this initiative. From an aesthetics perspective, the company is pleased with the results. “The challenge in designing the Wilson X display was: One, how do we grab everyone’s attention? Two, how do we distill all the technology into a meaningful, succinct benefit for teenage hoopsters? Three, with limited real estate, how do we communicate $200 worth of features and technology to young hoopsters and their moms and dads,” Gonzales says.

“Overall, we wanted to introduce this high-tech basketball to consumers and educate them on the product experience and its great functionality. Our in-store display achieved these objectives.”