By Courtney Thompson Posted February 17, 2009, 4:48 PM EST
While a handful of marketers flew to Phoenix over the weekend to host events around the NBA All-Star Game—among them ESPN, House of Jordan, 944 Magazine, EA Sports, and Sprite—many brands followed the precedent set at the the Super Bowl this year and opted out, or ran with scaled-back (read: cheaper) versions of what they're typically known for. New to the scene, however, was T-Mobile's Celebrity Shootout, a charitable game of horse between Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade and celebrities like actress Eliza Dushku and Scrubs star Donald Faison.
Held Friday night in and around the Hotel Valley Ho's pool deck, the event was a multipurpose party that T-Mobile used to both promote its new G1 phone and launch its myFave's Shot of a Lifetime, a national sweepstakes that offers the winner and their “fave five” the chance to play horse with Wade at the Eastern Conference NBA Finals and to win $50,000. (For non-basketball fans: Horse is a game where two players take turns at trick shots; the player unable to duplicate a shot gets a letter in the word horse until one player spells the whole word and loses.)
The magenta palette (inspired by the pink “T” in T-Mobile) could be seen throughout the event, lighting up the hotel's palm trees and pool, while interactive decor abounded in the form of a custom myFaves photo booth, G1 text stations, and the shootout half-court. T-Mobile manager of entertainment marketing Cassie Jenkins hired Bragman Nyman Cafarelli to manage the event, with Bolthouse handling production.
Entertainment came in the form of Katy Perry, who performed a 45-minute set that culminated with her actually kissing a girl onstage. In total, the celebrity hoopsters raised $170,000 for the charities of their choice.