Many NBA fans were likely puzzled when during the finals, screens went orange as Tangerine used its highly-coveted ad time to “help fans relax.”

This approach to an ad was different than the usual sporting event-type commercial.

The Canadian direct bank had no political agenda, wasn’t promoting “dunks or threes,” or encouraging fans to celebrate with a cold frothy beer.

Instead, Tangerine gave fans a restorative break.

Here’s what they played:

Many Benefits of Breaks: A Little Goes a Long Way

A simple 30-second break like Tangerine’s ad, that removes excessive noise and hype, allows fans a rapid recharge. This improves our attention and boosts our moods so we can stay in the game and feel good throughout.

Breaks have numerous advantages and they are often underrated. A break doesn’t have to be a nap in a resting pod or a “bio break”. It’s a period of time to recharge and can include:
– Short breaks
– Lunch breaks
– Weekends
– Vacations

In fact, studies show there are many benefits of breaks no matter the type:

– Short breaks can improve attention in just 40 seconds (Lee, Williams, Sargent, Williams, & Johnson, 2015).

– Long breaks such as free evenings after work, or in particular vacations and weekends, improve our mood and mental health (Bloom, Nawijn, Geurts, Kinnunen, & Korpela, 2017).


Excessive Excitement is a Buzz Beater

Sustained emotional intensity can cause stress and impair memory (Cahill & McGaugh, 1998). This is particularly important to us as event and communications designers, where the goal is often to inform and inspire an audience, but also as basketball fans. After all, too much stress in a game can almost make it hard to watch.

The science behind this is that stressful or exciting experiences increase the secretion of hormones such as epinephrine (i.e., adrenaline) and cortisol. Like many things, in small to moderate amounts, these hormones can be very effective aids in improving retention and attention. But, when too much stress and excitement is present, you’ll have the opposite effect: burn-out, irritation and memory impairment (Cahill & McGaugh, 1998).


This is where Tangerine hit the sweet spot.

The energy of the NBA finals is very intense and exciting. There isn’t as much to worry about remembering, unlike a business event, but advertisers still want to make an impact. By slowing down the pace, Tangerine gave us time to mentally “reset” and fully process their ad. At the very least, we noticed they did something different.

Whether we are watching the NBA finals or designing our next event, it’s important to remember that a great experience doesn’t mean nonstop action with overpowering lights and music. And standing out from the crowd doesn’t always mean overspending or overpowering the competition.


Sometimes you need to slow down before you can speed up. Take some time to reset.

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