THE BLOG
06/09/2010 04:52 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Kenny Can You Spare A Dollar, Or Two?

Kenny Smith had a solid career on the basketball court, whether it was at Queens' Archbishop Molloy High School, at the University of North Carolina, or in the NBA, where he helped lead the Houston Rockets to a pair of NBA titles. Always the guard in control, Smith dished many an assist to the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon and a host of NBA standouts during his career.

These days as NBA fans know, Smith is spending his time in the studio alongside Charles Barkley and crew on TNT's NBA coverage, but of late instead of dishing dimes he is promoting ... dollars? Two dollar bills to be exact.

That's what Smith was doing on Wednesday, spending a promotional day that mixed a plea to the Federal Reserve to print more two dollar bills (sign up for the petition on Facebook) while hawking Taco Bell's new affordable two dollar Meal Deals. Now while it will probably cost the Obama administration more than $2 per bill to re-issue new bills, it is still a good spin for the company to try something a bit outside the norm, using a commercial spokesperson like Smith during the NBA Finals, to push their newest promo. Will it work? Doesn't matter. What matters is the company found a way to get some fun exposure with a former athlete who has more than a decent opinion on what is going on in hoops today, at a time when the NBA Finals are drawing some key numbers.

There are reasons for him to generate media coverage and that in turn will help the promotion.

Of course if somehow the two dollar petition goes viral and gets a bigger groundswell of support, Smith's media push Wednesday will certainly help to grow the campaign in addition to getting Taco Bell ... an NBA partner ... all the extra exposure it can handle. The promotion actually shows the added brand value a designated partner can get with the support of a major media property like the NBA ... tying to a consumer promotion with value, a digital campaign, a spokesperson and the buzz surrounding the NBA Finals ... in one clear, concise package as opposed to the risk of ambush or viral campaigns that may or may not work or catch on.

In a time when brands need that extra push, partnerships like Taco Bell's clearly give them leverage to get out in front of the consumer audience they need to reach; the audience that is loyal to NBA hoops at a time when even the casual fan is tuning in to Lakers-Celtics.

Will we all be running to pick up a few extra two's? Probably not. But maybe when we go by a Taco Bell we may think a little more about going in for some added value, thanks to a dish from Kenny "The Jet."