GoDaddy brings coziness to Raptors partnership

In its latest campaign with a Raptors star, the website platform returns to the humour of past executions.


GoDaddy is rolling out phase three of its ongoing partnership with the NBA’s Toronto Raptors.

In the recent past, GoDaddy – which aims to help small, independent sellers build their own website properties – has leveraged the popularity of the Raptors’ Norman Powell and Jonas Valanciunas to showcase how it helps small-scale entrepreneurs turn their hobbies and passions into businesses. It has also worked with football player Duvernay-Tardif in Quebec, and with hockey star Doug Gilmour on an apparel venture launched in collaboration with charitable organization Fear.Less.Inc.

Now, GoDaddy is using that same creative concept with CJ Miles, helping the Raptors’ shooting guard bring his “CJ’s PJs” sleepwear line to life online. The player’s pajamas can be purchased, a site designed using the GoDaddy Website Builder, with the proceeds benefiting The Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.

The idea is to reinforce DoDaddy’s positioning as a helpful resource for small business owners (or basketball stars with side-hustles) who are operating in ecommerce, while delivering the same lighthearted creative approach as past executions, says Jill Schoolenberg, VP and country manager of GoDaddy Canada.

Campaign assets supporting CJ’s PJs are running on TV, online and social, with the main spot showing Miles trying everything to get a good night’s sleep (counting sheep, aromatherapy candles, whale music), until he finally settles on making and selling his own, cozy pajamas. Additional elements are appearing in out-of-home and as in-stadium signage.

Over the last few years, GoDaddy has tested slightly different approaches to its Raptors partnership, says Schoolenberg, from the overtly humourous to more passion-based creative.

“The first one with [Valanciunas] was sort of the parody between super big guy making something small, so that sort of naturally fit with him,” she says. “The Norman Powell spot [focused on music] was really looking for an authentic passion outside of business.”

This time, the brand returned to a more humourous approach to the creative, having learned that more humour, as well as offering of memorabilia (which was not possible with Powell), tends to resonate best with consumers.

The one big learning that has come from the program so far is just how much fans desire the tangible products that have become a staple of the campaigns. “When we started these, we didn’t think we were turning things into a real business,” says Schoolenberg, adding that “it still amazes us how interested people are in acquiring these celebrity, co-branded products with GoDaddy and the Raptors.”

The company ended up running two iterations of “Itty Bitty Ballers” to extend the campaign, after blowing through inventory of Valanciunas’ figurines. Even Duvernay-Tardif’s handcrafted wooden bowls, priced at $100 to $200 apiece, have sold rather quickly.

“CJ’s PJs” launched on TV during the Raptors’ home opener on Oct. 17, with the goal of having it run as long as the basketball season, depending on product availability.

Agency partners Juniper Park/TBWA, Wavemaker and North Strategic contributed to the campaign.