Panel | Champion Brand Partnerships: Riding the Raptors Wave to Victory

Panels & Conversations
Nov 12, 2019 3:50 PM
Hosted By
Glenn Gould Studio | 250 Front St W

As fans and bandwagoners across the GTA and beyond caught Raptors fever this past year – so did Canada’s leading brands. In this session, we’ll sit down with three brands that did this exceptionally well in 2019 – McDonald’s Canada, Sun Life and Tangerine Bank. We’ll explore how these brands leveraged this opportunity, navigated unexpected challenges, and worked with unpredictable timelines and unprecedented outcomes. Marketers across all industries have much to learn about strategic partnerships from these case studies.

McDonald’s Canada notoriously gave away millions of dollars worth of french fries in celebration of every occasion when the team made 12 three-pointers in a game – something that happened more often than anyone could have anticipated, thanks to Kawhi Leonard. Most recently, Chuck Coolen and his team at McDonald’s Canada were recognized with the 2019 NBA Partnership of the Year for their work with the Toronto Raptors.

Sun Life’s partnership with the Raptors began during the 2014 Raptors season in an effort to encourage healthy lifestyles among young people. In 2017, Sun Life expanded its relationship with the Raptors as the team’s first jersey patch sponsor. Their partnership also includes the collaboration between Sun Life, the Toronto Raptors, the NBA and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada to run Sun Life’s Dunk for Diabetes program. Pascal Siakam will be Sun Life’s official ambassador for the upcoming 19/20 season.

Scotiabank-owned Tangerine became The Official Bank of the Toronto Raptors. Their support for the MLSE Foundation (a charitable organization supported by the Toronto Raptors and all other Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment teams) includes MLSE Launchpad and community gyms, two initiatives designed to help young people recognize and reach their potential.


Chuck Coolen | Senior Marketing Manager, Eastern Canada at McDonald’s

Chuck Coolen is a solutions-oriented marketer who firmly believes in keeping the balance between growing share of wallet and share of heart! During his tenure with McDonald’s, the regions he leads have consistently performed at or near the top of North American results for comparable sales, while positively impacting brand health measures.

His collaboration with the advertising agency, Cossette, has won numerous Canadian and global creative awards, including 2018 Best in Show at the Marketing Awards, a 2018 Grand Prix at Cannes and the Grand Prix at the 2019 McDonald’s Global creative awards. Most recently, he and his team were recognized with the 2019 NBA Partnership of the Year for their work with the Toronto Raptors.

Chuck’s work was recognized at McDonald’s with the Golden Maple Leaf Award, the Circle of Excellence Award and the Presidents’ Award. The President’s Award recipients are deemed the top 1% of McDonald’s employees globally. Most recently, Chuck received the Chartered Marketer designation from the Canadian Marketing Association. Chuck is a regular McDonald’s spokesperson, a guest lecturer at local schools and a mentor for marketers. He is a member of the Advisory Board for Canada’s Next Top Ad Exec competition, an advocate at McDonald’s for diversity and inclusion and a 2019 judge for the CMA Awards.

Marianne Arnaudon | Director, Global Partnerships at Sun Life

With almost 20 years experience in marketing and communications, Marianne Arnaudon is currently Director, Global Partnerships at Sun Life. In her current role, she is responsible for consulting with Sun Life’s global marketing teams in activating brand partnerships, sponsorships, and philanthropic initiatives, as well as directly activating key partnerships in the Canadian market. Most notably, she works on Sun Life’s sponsorship of the Toronto Raptors, including the Dunk for Diabetes grassroots program. Previously, Marianne worked on Sun Life’s global brand strategy as well as managing the Canadian brand advertising campaign. With roots starting in Journalism, Marianne’s career first began in media, and later in public relations in both the public and private sector, including spending time abroad in Japan and obtaining an MBA from the University of Southern Queensland, with a specialization in International Business.



Nicole Francis SMWTO 2019 Speaker TangerineNicole Francis | Senior Manager, Content Marketing & Social Media at Tangerine

Nicole Francis currently leads the content and social media marketing strategy at Tangerine Bank. The growth in her own personal finance knowledge is a direct result of her role at Tangerine and this fuels her drive to help Tangerine’s Clients and prospects get more comfortable with their own personal finance through financial literacy education. Nicole spent most of her early marketing career in the technology sector working with iconic global brand, AT&T. Nicole is an agile leader with a broad platform of experience including digital marketing, content marketing strategy, social media strategy, brand management, and communications strategy.





Jennifer La Forge | General Manager at

Jennifer La Forge is a driven business leader and change-maker for online retail in Canada. As General Manager of Cash Back website, Jennifer brings innovation, strategic direction and passion to drive the business forward, with a focus on delivering an optimal user experience. An industry leader in retail marketing and technology, Jennifer speaks at industry events on the topics of leadership and mentorship as keys to success.