Carmex – Half-Court Hero

1024 683 Michael Kraabel

I was the creative lead on a campaign that ultimately resulted in a “Viral Video for the Year Award” and a “My Sportcenter Moment” commercial.


Lebron James Half-Court Hero Contest

Carmex + Lebron James Half-Court Hero Campaign

This campaign was part of a larger outreach program to reach deep into the Carmex fan base. We developed an online promotion to build the Carmex database and expand their social media following.

As we didn’t have the money to be an official Lebron James sponsor, we opted to sponsor the new website – at a fraction of the cost.

Creative Brand Sponsorhips

As part of this sponsorship, we were responsible for developing content and promotions that would not only be on brand for Carmex, but also Lebron James.

The centerpiece of this campaign was an online sweepstakes where the winner would get a chance to win $75,000 grand prize if they made a half-court shot.  We negotiated the opportunity to have this half-court shot take place during a break in a Miami Heat game.  Our selected contest winner, Michael Drysch, made a miracle half court hook shot and the rest is viral history.

Media Tour

After Michael Drysch made the historic half-court hook shot, media calls started rolling in.  Within hours, we were booked on Good morning Miami, CNN, Inside Edition, Good Morning America, and had countless radio and media interviews.  The resulting media impressions were worth millions and Carmex saw an immediate up-tick in sales.

Media Impressions

The moment was captured live on TV and was immediately picked up  by Sportcenter and became an immediate international sensation. The Lebron Tackles Fan is the ESPN YouTube channel’s top-watched video of all time. Additionally:

Instant viral.
Top of Reddit.
#1 Play On SportsCenter.
3-day PR Tour on National TV in New York.
500 Million Impressions.
$7M worth of brand exposure.
30% Sales lift for two weeks during peak season.
Viral Video of the Year.

Carmex Half-Court Academy

1000 667 Michael Kraabel

I developed the concept for the Carmex Half-Court Academy film series to be used in coordination with a social media partnership with Lebron James.


It was less than a challenge, but more of an opportunity.  As part of our sponsorship with and his social media properties, we were allowed a certain number of posts and promotions each year.  As we were winding down a Half-Court Hero Online Sweepstakes, we need some extra ammunition to promote the contest. It was weeks away from the end, going into the holiday season when we got the challenge.


I quickly write up a script treatment for a multi-part Half-Court Academy Training Series that could be promoted on and his social media properties. We had a rough outline of a script and dialog, but got approval to run with the idea.  We rented out a local university gym and converted it to the set of our Half-Court Academy.  It was Christmas Even when we were filming, so the 18 hour day was a little exhausting.  We even passed on “wrap beers” that day.

Behind The Scenes

Dominica Challenge

1024 683 Michael Kraabel

Rebranding a hidden Caribbean travel destination to the adventure- and experience-seeking millennial market.

The Origins

The inception of the Dominica Film Challenge marked a pivotal moment in the promotion and awareness of Dominica as a unique Caribbean destination. The concept was devised for the Discover Dominica Authority with two primary objectives: to significantly raise awareness about the island and to rejuvenate its image library with high-quality, professional content for advertising and promotional purposes.

This innovative approach focused on engaging a select group of influential content creators, inviting them to capture the essence of Dominica through their lenses. The idea was not just about creating a standard marketing campaign; it was about storytelling, showcasing the island through diverse, creative perspectives that would resonate with a global audience.

The event, held for two consecutive years, surpassed all expectations. It transformed into an award-winning global phenomenon, generating awareness and content that far exceeded even the most optimistic forecasts. The success of the Dominica Film Challenge was a testament to the power of creative collaboration and innovative marketing strategies in the digital age.

My personal journey to Dominica, undertaken as a solo adventure, played a crucial role in shaping the direction of this campaign. Representing Bolin Marketing, the North American Agency of Record for the Discover Dominica Tourism Authority, I experienced firsthand the raw, untamed beauty of Dominica. It was an adventurer’s paradise, starkly different from the typical Caribbean offerings focused on leisurely beach holidays.

Up until that point, Dominica’s marketing efforts were aligned with competing against more established Caribbean destinations, emphasizing similar themes of relaxation and beachside leisure. However, the true essence of Dominica was its uncharted, rugged landscape – a haven for explorers and adventure-seekers. It became clear that the island’s potential as a destination for exploration and adventure needed to be highlighted to attract travelers like myself, who yearned for more than the traditional Caribbean holiday experience.

The Dominica Film Challenge, therefore, emerged not just as a marketing campaign, but as a movement to redefine and reintroduce Dominica to the world. It was about unearthing the hidden gems of the island and presenting a narrative that appealed to those seeking a unique, off-the-beaten-path adventure. The challenge successfully put Dominica on the map as a must-visit destination for adventurers and explorers, altering perceptions and inviting the world to experience the island’s unspoiled natural beauty.

The Challenge

The “Dominica Film Challenge” is an annual event designed to showcase the natural beauty and cultural richness of Dominica, an island in the Caribbean. This creative endeavor invites filmmakers, photographers, and storytellers from around the world to capture the essence of Dominica through their unique lenses.

Participants are given a week to explore the island, known for its lush rainforests, vibrant underwater environments, and diverse local communities. They create short films, photo essays, or other multimedia pieces that highlight Dominica’s landscapes, wildlife, and cultural practices, like music, dance, and traditional crafts.

The challenge culminates in a public showcase where these works are displayed, celebrating the island’s allure and the talent of the participants. The event aims not only to promote tourism but also to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of Dominica’s ecological and cultural treasures.

The Results

Visibility and impact:

Over 62 million online impressions  in the first year (well over 100 million in two years)

Google searches up 49%

150% increase in organic search to the DMO tourism website

5% increase in overall traffic to the tourism website

75% growth in social communities

Follow on feature stories in Wall Street Journal, Backpacker magazine and LIAT’s inflight  magazine, Zing!

Content/Image library refresh:

Thousands of pieces of new high quality content

A dozen  examples of engaging film content that sells the destination

Two dozen new source market ambassadors

Ultradeck – by Menards

1024 576 Michael Kraabel

Wrote, Directed, and Produced a series of television spots used to launch the new line of Ultradeck products at Mendards.


New Product Launch Campaign

The Challenge

We were challenged to come up with a unique concept that highlighted the new Ultradeck product from Menards. The new composite decking product  was a major evolution in quality and performance from their previous products. The challenge was that the product was early in production … in the middle of the winter.

The Solution

We had the product engineers build us a 12×12 decking platform in our in-house studio, where we were able to mount a stationary overhead camera and re-set the stage to highlight all the unique ways the decking product could be used, and the durability of the product.

Carmex + Lebron

960 720 Michael Kraabel

A simple branded integration program between Carmex and Lebron James that created an internet sensation.

Lebron James + Carmex


We had a limited marketing budget at Carmex, but big hopes and dreams. Lebron James was a big fan of Carmex, using it during his warm ups to get ready for each game. While we didn’t have the money to sponsor Lebron as an athlete, we were able to sponsor his new digital website and social media platforms – long before “influencer” marketing became mainstream.  Our only challenge was producing content that would be on-brand for Lebron and on-brand for Carmex.


When Nike launched their online shoe customization tool, we realized we had marketing gold on our hands.  One of our account managers spent a few minutes on the website and for $225.00 we had a pair of Carmex Branded shoes – that just so happened to be in Lebron’s size.  We sent them over to the locker room via his management team, and the rest set the internet on fire.




(Just to start)

Honeywell Social

1024 682 Michael Kraabel

My team was responsible for the management of Honeywell’s social media content creation and customer service.