When Terrence Ross was asked shortly after he was drafted eighth overall last season what Raptors fans could expect from him, the soft-spoken swingman simply answered “highlights”.

It didn’t take long for him to start living up to that guarantee. Ross was soaring right from the Las Vegas Summer League, showcasing a unique blend of explosiveness, hangtime and style.

We knew early on that Ross deserved a spot in the 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, but we needed to get that word out and from there, #LetRossDunk was born. It started as a simple hashtag that brought our fans together after every unbelievable Ross highlight, but as the sensational slams began to pile up, Raptors play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin was soon using it in-game and our video producers began the creation of short promo spots.

In January, Ross was named to the six-man Sprite Slam Dunk field and the campaign was kicked into a whole new gear as various internal departments collaborated to help Ross bring the Sprite Slam Dunk title back to Toronto.

#LetRossDunk became #RossShallDunk and our creative services team developed a series of jaw-dropping spots using a phantom cam to keep Ross — a rookie who wasn’t exactly a household name yet among hoops fans — front and centre.

We also broadened our traditional social media reach, translating our campaign for use on the NBA’s official website in China as well as powerful social media platforms Sina.com and Sohu.com. These platforms proved invaluable to helping Ross secure the crown via fan vote, with 68% of his votes in the final coming from China.

We developed a Ross logo, one slick infographic and cover/background photos for our social media channels that not only promoted the player, but also kept fans informed on all the ways they could vote on All-Star Saturday Night (example below).

We also kept the content coming by following Ross to Houston and documenting his experience at All-Star Weekend.

How did this strategy pay off? In the 90 days leading up to the contest, there were 18,703 posts using the #LetRossDunk and #RossShallDunk hashtags. #Letrossdunk saw 11,738 posts over 80 days (147 per day), while #RossShallDunk saw 6,965 posts in nine days (773 per day).

Saturday night finally arrived and Ross more than held up his end of the bargain with an impressive aerial display. As soon as he advanced to the finals, we focused all our energy on mobilizing fans to vote and the results speak for themselves as Ross went on to defeat defending champ Jeremy Evans to win the 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.

Another look at the infographic we created…

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