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The story behind #WeAreOne

The Clippers turned Doc Rivers' statement into a team-wide rallying cry in light of Donald Sterling's racist remarks.

(http://www.nba.com/clippers/one)
(http://www.nba.com/clippers/one)

“WE-ARE-ONE. WE-ARE-ONE,” the Clippers faithful chanted near the end of Game 5 against the Golden State Warriors.

That phrase, as much as anything the Clippers have done on the court, is central to one of the most tumultuous weeks of NBA history, and serves as a rallying cry for a fan base, and league, thrown into turmoil by owner Donald Sterling’s racist comments.

But where did “We Are One” come from?

Like most great things on the court for the Clippers this season, it apparently came from the man in charge of the locker room, head coach Doc Rivers.

Sunday night on the eve of Game 4 in Oakland, Rivers had written “We Are One” in the Clippers locker room, doing whatever he could to keep his team together amid the crisis involving Sterling.

Ad Agency HEILBrice, the agency that works with the Clippers marketing department, noticed the slogan in a post-game tweet by a member of the media at the game. The company worked quickly to redesign everything involving the Clippers to include the slogan, from the in-stadium banners to its website and online video advertisements.

The movement proved to be one of the more effective campaigns utilized in sports in recent memory, particularly with such a prompt turnaround. The NBA and Adidas are now selling “We Are One” T-shirts, of which the proceeds will go toward anti-discrimination and tolerance organizations.

In a crowded digital marketing environment, the simple phrase and design by HEILBrice proves that sticking to the basics is sometimes better.

As sports franchises review its marketing campaigns, it would be smart to recognize what the Clippers have been able to do; taking a stance and encouraging unity in three simple words and one color.

“It’s a great slogan and I’m glad they are doing it,” said branding expert Karen Post. ”Whenever you can capture the spirit of something so big like this in a tight concise way that can be shared and retweeted is always good.”

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