Coors Light challenges Raptors fans to recreate ‘The Shot’

The beer brand tries to keep connecting to consumers through culture-defining moments, even without the NBA playoffs.

coorsshot2This week is the one-year anniversary of Kawhi Leonard’s now-iconic four-bounce buzzer-beating shot that sent the Toronto Raptors to the NBA Eastern Conference Final on their way to their first-ever NBA championship title. Coors Light wants Canadians to relive the moment, despite the season being cancelled.

Coors Light – the official beer of the Raptors – is encouraging basketball fans confined to their homes to recreate Leonard’s buzzer-beater using only household items. Canadians can enter the challenge by posting on social media with the hashtag “#TheShotChallenge” and tagging Coors Light Canada before May 26. The winner will be given Raptors prizes, including courtside seats to a future home game.

There is a three-pronged strategy behind the challenge, notes Eric Kouri, marketing manager at Coors Light: reminding people of the pivotal moment, getting them involved and reinforcing the brand’s association with the Raptors.

A brief to creative AOR Rethink to engage fans and keep their interest throughout the NBA playoffs was delivered in February. But by the time the creative agency was ready to present, “we had obviously encountered an entirely new reality,” Kouri says. On Mar. 11, COVID-19 was deemed a pandemic. On the same day, the NBA postponed its season after a Utah Jazz player preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19.

“The key here was pivoting for a world where we couldn’t be executing some of our really key assets,” Kouri says, referring to things like ad time during highly viewed playoff games or the Coors Light Mobile Mountain viewing area in Maple Leaf Square. But despite the lack of game, fans are still craving sports right now.

Kouri says Rethink was able to work fast and come back with a new idea in mid-March that recognized the proliferation of social media “challenges” that people have used to keep busy during the pandemic, especially on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

“It really was an idea that helped us quickly participate in this space, as we saw millions of Canadians doing these challenges and really probing at each other to find ways to stay occupied during quarantine,” Kouri says. “At any moment when you encounter a real shift in culture, you need to understand how you want your brand to live and breathe in this new environment. This is something that’s part of our new philosophy at Molson Coors, from a marketing perspective. It’s really embracing cultural moments that are happening around the brand and acting quickly to ensure our brands have a voice.”

Aside from pushing the content on social, Coors has partnered with influencers including Sportscentre host Jay Onrait, Amazing Race winner Kristen McKenzie and Raptors 905 courtside reporter and podcast host Akil Augustine, who have already posted their recreated shot to Instagram to promote the contest.

The loss of on-premise options have become one of the major challenges beer brands have faced during the pandemic, Kouri says, since bars and restaurants make up a sizeable portion of Coors Light’s business. “It has been hard for our customers, it has been hard for our category,” he says, adding that he’s seen “some positive deflection” back into retail channels.