Cannes Lions


NARRATIVE, Toronto / KFC / 2023

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Supporting Images
Supporting Images






Basketball’s popularity is growing in Canada, with over 17.3M fans, and 75% of those fans eating at QSR restaurants. However, Canadians face roadblocks finding courts because of harsh Canadian winters. Whether it’s lack of facilities or disrepair of facilities, Canadians crave more places to play.

Over recent years, KFC activated within basketball on and off the NBA court, but with steep competition, they needed to break through. Without being an “official” sponsor of the NBA, they wanted to steal the spotlight from official sponsors and leverage the Colonel as the ultimate fan of buckets - both finger lickin’ good buckets of KFC and basketball buckets.

KFC’s objectives were to create a 360 campaign that outsmarted competition for the NBA season, to deliver 40M earned media impressions, to increase brand consideration amongst Gen Z and Millennial consumers by at least 15%, and to increase net buzz by 50%.


To overcome harsh conditions that Canadian winters pose for bucket fans, KFC hacked an “NBA Sponsorship” by resizing their iconic bucket to be NBA regulation size. Next, KFC built the world’s first completely winterized NBA size regulation court in an underused space in downtown Toronto. The court was protected from the elements by the busiest elevated highway in Canada. It featured custom-built elements designed for sub-zero conditions, including a no-slip surface, heated basketballs, and down puffer jerseys, so players could enjoy buckets all winter long.


KFC is looking to improve its reputation among Gen Z and Millennials, while building buzz and consideration. So, KFC focused on Millennial and Gen Z sport and food enthusiasts both male and female, who live in urban centres, are NBA fans, and frequently eat at QSR chains.

But being a basketball fan in Canada has its challenges. For viewers, there’s only one Canadian NBA team, the Raptors. For players, snowy Canadian winters force outdoor courts to close, leaving fewer places to play.

Since KFC knows buckets like no one else, we aimed to unite bucket fans by giving them access to a new place to play that defies the seasons and defines what true passion for the game looks like. We set out to prove that Canadians are hardcore bucket fans and that “Buckets Are Life”.


The KFCourt was custom built tile by tile over 4 days and was playable for a month. The materials were meticulously tested in rain, snow, and sleet for a uniquely Canadian context, with a no-slip finish. Basketballs were heated for maximum bounce, despite freezing temperatures. Next, KFC puffer jerseys were designed to provide players with warmth as they scored buckets.

While driving awareness and conversion through the design of the court elements themselves, the court was also used to create content with our paid partners TSN and TikTok to amplify our campaign further. Local day-parted, location-specific paid social media along with unique 2-dimensional OOH placements within the Toronto area drove court attendance and a national game night offer. Additionally, the court was used as the set for a national TV and OLV ad that aided our connection to the game of basketball alongside official NBA sponsors.



• #1 QSR Brand in Basketball without an official NBA sponsorship

• +32% Brand Consideration amongst NBA fans

• +1300% Brand Buzz amongst NBA fans

• +200% Brand Satisfaction amongst NBA fans 

Earned Media + Social

• 867 stories

• 295.3M media impressions 

• 200+ earned social shares

• 22.8M social impressions

KFCourt physical engagement

• sold out in 3 days, with thousands of guests experiencing the court

• 5 community groups were given dedicated time at the court

Paid Social

• 43.8M social impressions (Youtube, TikTok, FBIG)

Owned Social

• 69,255,157 MM impressions on social (50.6% increase MoM)

• 606,629 engagements from the content and the experience (70.7% increase MoM) 

• +104% net audience MoM

• +222,820 TikTok audience (MoM)

• 30M+ impressions on Instagram

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2023, KFC

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