One thing’s for sure: Drake either has a wicked understanding of marketing, or he’s hired one stellar team. Love him or hate him, he has effectively moulded the city in his image. Branding is about crafting associations, and there is no mistaking his fingerprints are all over what it means to be from Toronto.
Tomorrow’s Raptors game against the Cleveland Cavaliers will be another expression of Drake’s TorontoTM. It will be the Raptors’ third annual Drake Night, established after the rapper and singer-songwriter was named the team’s global ambassador in 2013. Initially intended as a way to entice a larger crowd with the promise of free merchandise and the city’s star in the stands, this year’s Drake Night is taking place during a game already expected to draw a huge turnout. Fans at tomorrow night’s game can most likely expect to receive free OVO merchandise following the recent release of the joint Toronto Raptors Mitchell & Ness OVO clothing line.
At least the release of this line has run considerably smoother than the premiere of the Raptors’ new logo last December. A version of the new logo was put up then taken down, and observers criticized it as being a tad unoriginal due to its similarity to the Brooklyn Nets logo. Drake was noticeably unhappy with the choice. He distanced himself by responding to criticism from social media users, tweeting that he had nothing to do with the redesign.
The Raptors managed to win their games during the last two Drake Nights. Here’s hoping that pattern continues tomorrow evening.