Canada Goose joins the NBA All-Star team

Who: Canada Goose with Initiative for strategy and media, Notch Video for creative, North Strategic for PR and influencer, and Impossible Studios for production.

What: A partnership between the NBA and the high-end outwear brand tied to the league’s annual All-Star game that includes a special clothing collection each year. The new deal is being promoted through a multi-media communications strategy.

When & Where: Timed for the NBA All-Star game (usually a weekend but scaled back this year because of the pandemic), the partnership is being promoted through a TikTok challenge, social advertising and, in a first for the brand, TV advertising. The spot will run on Sportsnet and TSN during the game broadcast, and on NBA TV throughout March.

The clothing line is designed by L.A.-based brand RHUDE, which is known for combining luxury and streetwear styles.

Why: Perhaps the better question here is why not? The NBA All-Star weekend is usually a multi-day/night, made-for-TV extravaganza with huge stars possessing big followings. Add in a special clothing drop from a hot designer each year, and it seems like a slam dunk.

“Canada Goose has been a coveted brand across the influential arenas of film, entertainment and sport for decades,” said president and CEO Dani Reiss in a release. “This multiyear partnership is a significant milestone for Canada Goose and the NBA; and our inaugural design partner, RHUDE, known for a culturally impactful approach to design, is the perfect tipoff partner.”

How: The TV ad was originally commissioned as video for social advertising, but was picked up for broadcast. Called “Play in the Open,” the spot stays close to Canada Goose’s “Live in the Open” brand platform launched in late 2019—which has special resonance right now with so many people feeling trapped inside for so long.

It shows passionate basketball lovers able to play outside in any weather, thanks to their Canada Goose outwear. “Let’s play without limits. Let’s ball without limits. Play in the open,” says the narrator.

“With these kinds of campaigns, we like to pitch a longer hero video that drives all of the footage we need to then create unique assets tailored to all the various social channels,” said Ian Buck, managing director at Notch Video. But Canada Goose liked the content shot by Impossible Studio so much it decided to run it on TV.

“As a storytelling brand, Canada Goose embraces individuals that are doing things differently, changing culture and putting themselves ‘out there,’ physically and emotionally,” said Buck. “The Play in the Open campaign is meant to embody the Canada Goose spirit and share the message of living freely and without judgement, so that’s what we looked to bring through when producing the video.”

What about TikTok: Also reinforcing the Live in the Open platform (and part of the strategy prior to TV ad), the “Play in the Open” challenge invites consumers to “express oneself freely without judgement.” It launches March 4 with a “Tip Off Crew”— including RHUDE’s founder Rhuigi Villaseñor and NBA centre James Wiseman—performing their best basketball tricks and inviting others to share their best tricks, “all in the spirit of coming together while staying apart.”

And we quote: “The NBA merges cultures, socioeconomics and brings people around the world together in the name of sport. Canada Goose is an innovative lifestyle brand, redefining the category. It was a no-brainer to partner with these two iconic brands. This collaboration honours the heritage of both the NBA and Canada Goose, and is a tribute to the athletes that already covet the brand.” — Rhuigi Villaseñor, founder of RHUDE

David Brown