Updated: Jan 21, 2021
The Toronto Raptors and Unilever Canada have used their existing partnership to support a new product launch in the Axe men’s deodorant line. Axe Wild, introduced this year, is the focal point for the partnership this season.
Both organizations have a long-standing history, activating together in different ways since the partnership first began. With a strategy of integrating the new product into the existing partnership, the two organizations worked together on establishing objectives. There were two clear objectives: build the Axe brand amongst a specific target audience, while drumming up the interest in the new product.
Toronto is an ever-growing sports powerhouse in the North American sports scene. The Raptors’ fanbase is invested in the team beyond the court. Fans have a tight bond with the players, the organization, the culture, and the city of Toronto.
Axe knew that the fanbase has always craved unique, personal experiences, and that fans follow the team diligently on social media. This lined up perfectly with Axe’s target for the campaign; young men who search for social currency through exclusive experiences. Thus, the two partners leaned more into experiential marketing and social media promotion than signage or traditional sponsorship.
The centerpiece of the campaign is an unexpected but impressive asset; the practice court on the 300 level of Scotiabank Arena, which is an intimate area that almost no fan has ever visited. With the location set, Axe & Raptors branded the area as the “AXE x Raptors Court”. Now adorned with AXE banners highlighting the jungle-like look of Axe Wild, plus several more Raptors-focused banners, the activation was nearly ready to go. The final piece was to integrate a current Raptor into the campaign.
Enter Fred VanVleet. Having spent his entire career with the team since he entered the league in 2016, VanVleet rose to prominence lasat season as a crucial part of the Raptors’ championship run. Throughout the NBA Playoffs, VanVleet became a clutch performer, nailing critical shots down the stretch. This was magnified during the NBA Finals as VanVleet drilled several long range shots while being guarded by former NBA MVP Steph Curry. Having dethroned the reigning two-time champions, VanVleet and the Raptors were atop the NBA landscape.
VanVleet is a natural fit for this campaign. With familiarity stemming from a pre-existing relationship with AXE, VanVleet’s personality, personified by his slogan of “Bet On Yourself,” resonates well with the Toronto area as he shares the young, vibrant vibe with the city.
With all of the pieces in position, the promotion was launched.
Dubbed as a chance for fans to “Unleash Your Wild”, fans can utilize the Raptors’ mobile app over the coming weeks to sign up to recreate VanVleet’s wild shots on the newly branded AXE Court. With roughly 400 contestants geared up to compete, only the best shooters will be able to advance. Participants will each shoot one three pointer, three free throws, and one more three pointer.
Out of all of the entrants, the three finalists who score the most collective points will be recreating shots from the qualifying round on an even larger stage, at Welcome Toronto Night on March 24th, 2020. The winner will receive an unexpectedly wild prize!
So shoot your shot Toronto and “Unleash Your Wild!”