The pre-game walk to the locker room has become a staple of sports teams’ social media feeds, showing nattily-clad athletes, with their stylish kicks and designer threads, making their way into the arena.
But former Toronto Raptor Delon Wright caught the attention of hoops fans around the league when the team’s social channels featured a picture of him walking into a Jan. 31 game against the Milwaukee Bucks wearing a comically oversized suit, accompanied by the caption “Strictly business tonight.”
The Twittersphere quickly took notice, referencing everything from the iconic big suit worn by Talking Heads singer David Byrne, to asking if the picture was really Delon Wright, or simply two kids stacked on top of each other.
The tweet took on a life of its own over the next 24 hours, generating 15 million impressions along with coverage from the likes of Sports Illustrated, ESPN, the Bleacher Report and Sportsnet.
It wasn’t until the next night that the Raptors revealed that it was actually an ad for Snickers, part of the chocolate bar’s long-running “You’re not you when you’re hungry,” brand campaign.
The team posted a video to its social channels entitled “You lose your swag when you’re hungry.” It showed Wright, now clad in a more contemporary jacket and gold necklace, and holding a Snickers bar, saying “I was so hungry, I must have thrown it back to 2003.”
The promotion was part of Mars Wrigley Confectionery Canada’s ongoing partnership with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and the Raptors, which includes in-arena signage as well as broadcast elements such as The Snickers-sponsored “Play That Satisfies.”
“We saw the opportunity to tease out this new fashion [and] lifestyle experience that is evolving in professional sports,” said Jaclyn Sutton, head of marketing and strategy for Mars Wrigley in Toronto,. “We’re always looking for interesting and fun ways to play on ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry.'”
Sutton said that while TV remains a key part of Snickers’ marketing arsenal, a strong social strategy is key to maintaining relevance with a younger demographic. “Things like this enable us to do that quickly and cost effectively,” she said. “It’s also a way to effectively connect with people in a fun manner.”
Conceived by agency partners BBDO, MediaCom and FleishmanHillard HighRoad, the execution was the product of a half-day fitting session with Wright, who was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies on Feb. 7.
“We went through different options of the big suit,” said Sutton. “There was an extra-baggy grey suit and some other ridiculous outfits, but we landed on this one because it was reminiscent of the suits worn during the 2003 NBA draft.”