The Bay marks Raptors partnership with moody new spot

Who: The Bay, with its in-house creative agency; Tier Zero for production (Charlie Lindsay and Due Pinlac directing).

What: An atmospheric new ad promoting the retailer’s multi-year partnership with The Toronto Raptors. It became the NBA team’s Official Style Partner last year, a four-year deal that includes in-arena activations, as well as co-branding of the player tunnel, court-side LEDs, and “in-game moments.”

When & Where: The spot is live now, running on Sportsnet and TSN’s Toronto Raptors telecasts, as well as in-arena.

Why: The 60-second video is promoting The Bay’s association with the Raptors, and the team’s association with the city. While there are no overt references to specific items, it does weave in some of the 23 pieces that comprise The Bay x The Raptors’ 2022-23 capsule collection.

Alexander Meyer, The Bay’s chief customer officer, said that the brand is trying to reach people who haven’t shopped at the store before, while thinking strategically about how it can use storytelling to connect with audiences. “With everything we do, we are hyper-focused on relevance,” said Meyer.

How: The video opens on grainy hand-held video of the city, featuring playgrounds, Kensington Market and residential neighbourhoods, interspersed with shots of the people who make up the city. “Look around. What do you see? Tell me,” says the opening voiceover. “I see… where we’re from. Where we are,” responds a woman. “Our differences.”

The man then picks up the narrative as the spot unfolds. “Our common ground. Our fabric. Ties” before the woman concludes with the line “I see who were are. I see us.”

“The film is an ode to community and the unique style of the people who live in Toronto,” said Meyer of the creative approach. “We used a combination of Super 8 film and digital video… to evoke a feeling of intimacy and authenticity. We wanted to capture real moments between people, and the home video feel of Super 8 film lends itself well to this.”

The video also features shots of Toronto Raptors stars Pascal Siakim and Toronto-born Dalano Banton, who appeared in the advertising for the first collection of branded apparel earlier this year.

Aside from the establishing shot of a playground and a man carrying a ball and, later, Siakim sitting and dribbling a ball at a bus stop, the spot stays clear of cliched shots of people playing basketball. However, Meyer said that so many of the cast and crew were Raptors fans, that spontaneous games would often break out between takes.

Jimmy Prime, the Toronto hip-hop star who’s credited with coining the phrase “The 6,” also appears in the video, while his song “Sun Goes Down” provides the spot’s hazy, dreamy soundtrack. “Jimmy is also a huge basketball fan, so much so that he tattooed the Larry O’Brien trophy on his face after the Raptors won the title,” said Meyer.

And we quote: “This campaign is a rallying cry for Raptors fans across the country to be loud, to be confident and to be unapologetically themselves—and to celebrate the uniqueness that exists within this amazing community.” — Alexander Meyer, chief customer officer, The Bay


Chris Powell