Why Basketball Lost Its Squeak

Taking away one of the sport’s most familiar sounds enabled Ford’s message to squeak through the clutter.

If you’re a fan of basketball, the squeak of the players’ sneakers on the court is as much a part of the atmosphere as the bouncing ball or the cheers of fans. But for the finals of a Brazilian basketball league, the squeak was suddenly silenced. After a full minute sans squeaks, the commentator revealed that the phenomenon had been put in place to promote Ford’s anti-skid technology. Devised by Ford’s advertising agency GTB, it required taking control of eight microphones during the live broadcast and using a mixing desk to dial down the squeaks. This was repeated every quarter for five games. Stealing the skids from the game enabled Ford to talk about anti-skid on the streets.