Google Pixel Throws a Star-Studded NBA 'Watch Party'

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Google Pixel ends its 2022-23 NBA season the way it began—with a raucous, star-studded commercial leveraging big-time hoops and splashy pop culture to the max.

Druski returns from the brand's popular tip-off spectacular that dropped in the fall. This time, with the NBA Playoffs underway, his ride breaks down in suburbia. "The Greatest Watch Party" ensues. Everyone has a slammin' time in this glitzy film running more than 2 minutes:

Excelling again in the lead role, Dru uses Pixel technology to create a party e-vite. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Jalen Green, Kelsey Plum and Candace Parker make the scene. (Green doesn't dribble a severed head, but you can't have everything.)

At this point, Pixel spots are almost interchangeable with those of the NBA itself. Both tread similar territory in entertaining fashion, underscoring the ubiquity of each brand.

It's like all we do is take snaps, watch sports and worship media icons. Indeed, that probably sums up a huge chunk of what the target demo's about, explaining why entries in both campaigns feel authentic and never fail to resonate.

They should make a :60 with Druski and NBA spokes-character Non-Stop (Keyon Bowman) in a rap battle. Google Pixels vs. dunks: which is better? They're both great! This stuff writes itself.

"Basketball is meant to be fun, so we've tried to show fans how the Pixel can elevate their experience, no matter how they like to fan out, through IYKYK easter eggs that celebrate all the great NBA moments and personalities that have been lighting up their social feeds throughout the season," says Adrian Flores, VP of creative at Robot, which developed the Pixel push with directing team Daps.

The Robot team shared these tidbits with Muse:

  • "We ran out of functioning hoops on the shoot because all of our dunkers kept ripping the rings down. Druski's stunt double tried a reverse jam off the trampoline and completely destroyed the backboard and stanchion and Hooping Nate somehow managed to rip the breakaway ring off with such ferocity it couldn't be repaired. On the plus side, we got to wrap early on both those days as a result."
  • "Our Belly Easter egg scene with Richard Jefferson and our director Daps was the very last shot of the shoot. They were both incredibly hype for it until they discovered the pain of putting in the special contacts, which led to them spending 45 minutes in the bathroom, trying to put the lenses on each other."
  • "We had Kyle Kuzm's stylist, Toreno Winn Jr., on set. The pink sweater is a replica he made for a super fan that we borrowed for the shoot. We discovered it was essentially an oversized dress on our talent, so it had to be temporarily tailored on the spot. And then un-hemmed, so it could be returned in mint condition afterwards."
  • "Kelsey Plum and our Grandpa got on fabulously, breaking into an impromptu dance battle between takes, which inspired Daps to change up the plans for the shot, leading to Kelsey's dance-floor hero scene."
  • "Giannis insisted he only had an hour to do everything, and that he didn't want to get wet. But then had so much fun chopping it up that he hung around and gave us his best dad jokes for social."
  • "Joel and Giannis shot their scenes in Milwaukee the day before they played against each other. Both of them asked the creative team if the other looked tired ahead of the game (which the Bucks won)."

Client: Google Pixel
Brand Consultancy: Robot
Production Company: Anonymous Content
Editorial: Work Editorial
Post Production: Shape+Light
Color: Company3
Music: Premier Music 
Sound Mix: Sound Lounge

David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is managing editor at Clio Awards.

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