Blog / May 10, 2019
In May 2019, the Toronto Raptors were entering the NBA Playoffs with incredible momentum. With a bolstered roster featuring one of the best players in the NBA, Kawhi Leonard, a championship title for the team and for the city had never been within such close reach.
However, there was a black cloud looming over the city who was buzzing with excitement—the ongoing discussion as to whether the team’s star player would re-sign for another season.
It was this uncertainty that provided a role for Raptors Republic, a Toronto-based blog, to give Toronto fans a pulpit to express their support in a unique way, in turn building the blog’s audience to allow them to play a bigger role in the playoff conversation.
Enter: Ka’Wine and Dine- an initiative where restaurants placed a badge in their windows, pledging to give Kawhi free food for life if he re-signed to the Toronto Raptors.
“That thing is on pretty much every single restaurant.”
– Charles Barkley, The Rich Eisen Show (BR Live)
The campaign leveraged Instagram as a central hub for awareness and promotion, along with KawineAndDine.com, where businesses could download and print stickers for free.
Days after launch, this fan-driven campaign exploded. In less than two weeks, Instagram followers were in the thousands, and nearly 500 businesses had made the Ka’Wine and Dine pledge. Offers transcended the restaurant world, with additional badges created to include shops, car shares, and charitable giving.
While Kawhi ultimately chose to sign to a team closer to his home terrain, Ka’Wine and Dine proved to be a huge success for both the fans of Toronto as well as Raptors Republic. The campaign was reported in the media for 54 consecutive days. The campaign was reported in the media for two months and was named as one of the top five stories for the entire playoffs by the BBC.