The marketing guru behind H-E-B’s commercials with the Spurs is leading new advertising campaigns for five local organizations.
The Witte Museum, Texas Beer Company, Morgan’s Wonderland Inclusion Foundation, Janicek Law, and Rubiola Realty & Mortgage are the first clients for Cory Basso’s new independent marketing agency.
Basso is best known in San Antonio for his work with H-E-B. Since 2004, he has spearheaded the San Antonio-based grocery store chain’s commercial series with Spurs players.
The commercials, written by an ad agency in Dallas, were a runaway success that generated national coverage. The NBA at one point sent tapes of the H-E-B spots to other teams as an example of a successful partnership with a local sponsor.
Basso said even though H-E-B is not the biggest sponsor of the Spurs, research shows that people think it is. The same campaign has been extended to Houston, where the commercials feature stars from the NFL’s Texans and Major League Baseball’s Astros.
Basso, whose father ran an advertising agency in California and whose siblings also work in the industry, said his approach to advertising is to try to create an emotional connection with the viewers.
“Most brands will just put up a sign in an arena, but I like to take it a lot further,” he said.
The San Antonio resident of nearly 18 years said he’s wanted to open his own advertising agency since he lived in New York City, where he worked for Sony, Heineken Worldwide, and others. He finally decided to do so during the pandemic, under the name Basso360.
For Texas Beer Company, Basso said he found that the field of craft brewing was already saturated. “Everyone has fun names, unique designs, fun flavors. There was no real way to break into that category,” he said.
He pitched the idea of cause-based marketing, something he said he hasn’t seen with other craft beer companies.
The company’s new craft beer, K9 Lager, set to launch in June through much of Central Texas, will raise awareness for K9s For Warriors, a nonprofit that rescues and trains service dogs for wounded veterans. A small amount of the beer’s proceeds also will go toward the nonprofit – measuring out to about $5,000 over the next few years, Texas Beer Company founder and CEO Ian Davis said.
Davis said before they brought on Basso, the small company with only seven full-time employees was already providing support to many local charities, such as the Rotary Club and local Christmas toy drives. Basso, he said, suggested they make this “purpose-driven” aspect of their company a part of their next beer release.
“He looked at our strengths and shined a spotlight on that,” Davis said.
For the Witte Museum, details of Basso’s upcoming marketing campaign have been kept under a tight lid. Its tagline, “Come Experience the Renewed, Rejuvenated, Remarkable Witte,” will be launched in the next few weeks, and will highlight the more than $100 million transformation the museum has undergone in recent years.
“It’s going to be a really fun campaign with a lot of humor to it,” Basso said. “We’re going to reach customers in a very non-traditional way.”
He said an upcoming commercial features a drone video shot in the museum, and that the campaign could involve leaving “relics” around the city for people to find.
The museum’s president and CEO, Marise McDermott, said that in the many years she’s seen work done at the Witte, “this one brought me to tears, tears of happiness.”
For any enterprises that want to use Basso’s service, he has a marketing pitch of his own.
“I’m very cheap,” he said.
This article has been updated to correctly reflect the mission of K9s for Warriors. Disclosure: H-E-B is a financial supporter of the San Antonio Report. For a full list of business members, click here.