Written By: Adam Robles, Principal Consultant at Reach Agency; Head of Marketing of Raptors Republic | 5 minute read
As a part of Raptors Republic, I’ve had the opportunity to be at the centre of Ka’Wine and Dine, seeing it grow from its inception to the global phenomenon it is today. For those that don’t know about KaWine and Dine, it is a community driven initiative that encourages businesses to offer free food to Kawhi Leonard for life if he re-signs with the Toronto Raptors. Although we started with a focus on recruiting restaurants and bars, the program has grown to include all types of businesses from various industries.
In the span of a month, the program grew to include 1,000+ businesses.
So how did we get here?
1. Fun and empowering
Have you ever heard of the term “Shoot your shot”? It pretty much means to take a chance and talk to that boy/girl that you think is cute. In the eyes of many Raptors fans, Kawhi is the cutest of them all, an All-NBA, two-way supernova who is in the prime of his career. More importantly, he brought the city of Toronto a championship from one of the major sports, a title that has eluded us for the past 24 years.
The program has been able to grow due to how easy it is to join. The entire process includes three easy steps with all badges available for download at kawineanddine.com . There’s no approval process of anything related. If you have a business and want to join, you’re in. It’s that easy!
Speaking of culture, an initiative only moves forward with the support of a community. The Toronto Raptors are at the centre of the strongest community in the entire NBA, a fanbase of die hard raptors fans across the entire country of Canada. The fanbase is tight-knit because of the “small town, big city” feel of the city, strong because the collective chip on its shoulder that Toronto Raptors sports fans have, and massive since the Raptors are the only Canadian team in the NBA.
Listen, you can have the best marketing strategy and execution in the world but none of that matters if it doesn’t serve a purpose. The entire premise of Ka’Wine and Dine is to show our love and support to Kawhi Leonard and do our part in convincing him to re-sign with the Toronto Raptors. For those that have been living under a rock, Kawhi is arguably the best basketball player on the entire planet. He’s a generational talent who has ended two dynasties (Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors). In the player-driven league where star players play the majority of the minutes, talent matters. Kawhi at his peak gives the Raptors (or any team in the NBA) championship aspirations. Toronto is a sports-crazed city that immortalizes champions.
Winning here is different.