Last night, while I enjoyed watching the Eagles destroying the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, Nike informed me that Basketball Never Stops.

Did you notice the last slide? The one with the hashtag- #basketballneverstops. Me too. And naturally, I wanted to know more. Because I’m a 20-something girl living in America in 2011, I had my computer in front of me while watching TV and immediately jumped on Twitter. Right away, I noticed that hashtag was promoted. One click to see the conversation. @NikeBasketball’s tweet of the video link was the “top tweet”. Clearly this spot elicited a lot of emotion from the Twittersphere; mostly positive, saying it was perfect timing and it was a great spot.

To me, Nike is spot on. Not just with the ad, but with the social integration of their commercial. They took an offline activity and seamlessly translated it online, turning their campaign slogan into a hashtag. It’s not an accident that #basketballneverstops was promoted by Nike at the same time the spot aired. They effectively continued the conversation online, which is what social media is supposed to be all about. They received immediate feedback from those watching and earned over 600,000 views of the commercial on YouTube. Sure, It doesn’t hurt that King James also shared with his Twitter following, and engaged in the conversation too. I wonder if that was part of his contract….

Although I did not share the video with my Twitter followers, I did share it via IM with a friend I was chatting with, which is exactly what Nike wanted me to do. His response: He wanted to see Izzo. (I should have mentioned that he’s a HUGE MSU fan). I bet that this is the first in a series of spots with the same theme, so look for Tom to show up in one of them.

Admittedly, this spot did not have the initial Wow! factor that Imported from Detroit gave us earlier this year, but the cuts of Coach K, King James, and everyday players combined with the hard hitting, bass thumping beats made my inner Eminem cheer. The commercial stirred up emotion from basketball fans, NBA fans, athletes, and sports fans in general. Clearly Nike wanted to remind us that, even though the NBA is not playing right now, the sport lives on with those who play, those who are fans, and now all of us on Twitter.

Christina Torri works with Social Media and Internet Marketing clients for Mindscape at Hanon McKendry