Coca-Cola hopes to drain threes with Raptor mini-cans

CPG releases limited edition Sprite and Coke mini cans to celebrate big win.

Sprite Raptors CansWith the city still abuzz from the Toronto Raptors’ championship run, Coca-Cola has tapped into the hardcourt love with some commemorative cans to honour the big win.

The company has produced 150K Coke and Sprite mini cans in 6 packs of 222mL containers, which are available in major grocery stores across Ontario while supplies last (the cans are only available in Ontario because the brand’s marketing rights are limited to the province, according to Sherryl Woodward, director, integration marketing communications, Coca-Cola Ltd.).

This is the first commemorative package to be created and executed with Coca-Cola Canada Bottling, the new producer/bottler co-owned by Larry Tanenbaum, chair of MLSE (which owns the Raptors).

The cans were advertised through POS instore.

Woodward says its teams at Coca-Cola Canada and Coca-Cola Canada Bottling – including graphic design and can production, product production, distribution, sales and merchandising -  were focused on celebrating the team’s big win and were following its success all season. Following the team’s big NBA Finals road win, Woodward says Coca-Cola Canada Bottling started filling cans at its Weston plant at 1AM Friday June 14th finishing on Saturday June 15th.  The finished cans shipped out to distribution centres so they could start delivering to stores and merchandising teams were ready to put them proudly on display starting Monday, June 17th, across Ontario.

According to Woodward, it all started as soon as the team reached the playoffs, when the brand went to work both internally and with its suppliers and agency partners. The biggest component, Woodward says, was creating the new design for the can with packaging agency Perennial, and then working with supplier, Ball, to produce them as quickly as possible.

Woodward says, “half of the design is the Raptors official Championship logo and the other half calls out our partnership so we thought it was a perfect combination to pay tribute to the Raptors and demonstrate our ongoing support for Canada’s team.” Woodward says its creative merchandisers have made some fun displays using a variety of its brands (including the commemorative cans), which in the past has been spelling out “Raptors” with cases of stacked containers in grocery.

As reported in strategy, the brand recently unveiled new mini bottles. However, for commemorative packaging, Woodward says there is more “graphic real estate” on a can than there is on a bottle, meaning it has more room to work with than on a label, especially one as small as the new mini bottle.

“Cans are also among our most popular packages and are more widely available in major grocery stores so distribution is also easier.  For us, speed to market was key,” Woodward says.

She says the response to the commemorative cans has been very positive, and that Coca-Cola fans like to collect special, limited edition packages (as of the time of this writing, cans have popped up for sale on eBay): “Canadians are also fiercely proud, so having something to commemorate and remember this incredible occasion is very special,” she says.

Earlier this season, the brand created digital content to promote lemon-lime Sprite (the official drink of the Toronto Raptors team) and pitted players Delon Wright (now an Ex-Raptor) against OG Anunoby in series of silly lighthearted contests that included a thumb war, ukulele duel, card stacking, and other games.