A'ja Wilson will headline Ruffles' Ridgeline Unlocks event at NBA All-Star Weekend
The GIST: In 2022, Ruffles secured the bag by making WNBA star A’ja Wilson the brand’s first woman athlete. Two years later, the company’s Ridgeline Unlocks event will center her during February’s NBA All-Star Weekend. On yesterday’s episode of The GIST of It, Wilson explained how the activation puts the two pro basketball leagues on equal footing. Savoring every bite.
The details: Following a nationwide search, the official chip of the WNBA and NBA will host its first-ever pregame shooting experience ahead of the 2024 Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game on February 16th. The two lucky competitors will be hand-picked by Wilson and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum based on video submissions of their best shot attempts.
The context: This is the chip brand’s third year as title partner for the Celebrity Game, which was finalized in PepsiCo’s multiyear extension of its 2015 NBA deal. Although W promotional access was included in these deals, Ruffles didn’t make it official until its deal with Wilson. She’s all that (and a bag of chips).
The importance: In the past, the WNBA has been grouped under major NBA product partnerships (if included at all), but brands are increasingly treating the W and its athletes as equal partners. Skims, FanDuel, U.S. Bank, and Hennessy are a few examples of companies that have recently invested in WNBA–specific marketing campaigns.
- “I think it’s also cool for people to see the NBA and the WNBA together,” Wilson told The GIST of It. “I think a lot of people try to divide us obviously because of our gender, but at the same time, it’s kind of cool for them to see us in the same space.”
The takeaway: While NBA and WNBA players casually attend each other’s All-Star weekends, promoting Wilson equally alongside Tatum in the NBA’s Ruffles experience aligns with the chip brand’s mission to set the tone in sports sponsorship. Wilson’s talent sells itself, and the brand was smart to sign a bonafide winner as the first of hopefully many W athletes.