The Secret Behind the Success of’s Itty Bitty Baller Campaign

Did anyone else go online after seeing’s new commercial starring Lithuanian basketball star (and centre for the Toronto Raptors) Jonas Valančiūnas to check to see if his Itty Bitty Baller company was for real?

The bashful-yet-proud way that he confesses his off-court passion of making miniature figurines of himself seemed so … genuine.

That’s exactly what the creative team behind the campaign had hoped for. Their goal was to produce an engaging piece of video content that resonated with the entire country. But, let’s face it: That’s what everyone in the advertising industry hopes to achieve. So how and why were they so successful?

They got one, integral strategic factor correct: They understood the passions of their audience. Here’s how it went down:

1. They wanted to appeal to a diverse demographic so they chose a category almost every Canadian would appreciate regardless of age and gender — sports. It’s a well documented fact that the majority of us Canucks are ferocious about our professional sports teams.

2. But because most of us are fans of some team or another, it was important to make sure they picked a sport as well as a team that unites all of us. It didn’t take long to narrow the list to the Raptors, for obvious reasons.

3. Next, they needed to chose a player who wasn’t already associated with another brand and was relatable to that aforementioned wide audience. Not only does JV’s charm make him likeable, he also represents the small town kid we all can relate to. (Since 1946, less than 15 players have come from Lithuania).

4. But they still needed JV to “do” something that would make the campaign interesting enough for people to talk about. Hiring a pro-athlete to sell your product isn’t exactly an original idea. The solution? Give JV an odd — but not too odd — hobby that could believably become a viable business. And so, IttyBittyBallers was born.

5. Of course, JV didn’t launch a figurine company. However, a small, Canadian company named Selftraits did. (Another strategic decision: Choosing a home-grown company taps into all of our Canada-proud psyches.)

6. To bring the whole thing full circle and inspire Canadian entrepreneurs, there’s a contest: Tell GoDaddy what inspired your small business and you could win up to $7,500.

The contest ends February 20th, 2017. You can find more details here.

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