🎉 2022 Shortlist


Entrant: Rakuten

  • Most Creative Partnership with an Athlete or Influencer




In celebration of the new NBA All-Time 3-Point Leader and Global Brand Ambassador Stephen Curry, Rakuten launched a multi-faceted program to celebrate this momentous achievement with fans and the community.

How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

For this once-in-a-generation moment, Rakuten tapped into the drivers and trends of basketball culture to create a national activation with local impact to continue educating fans about Rakuten through joy, rewards, premium products, and experiences that also compliments the Rakuten brand identity.

Leaning into Stephen’s humble, joyful, and giving personality as inspiration, Rakuten exemplified these qualities at the forefront of the campaign to celebrate with fans. Leveraging this angle, Rakuten was able to authentically weave into NBA cultural conversations and further strengthen their association with the league and Stephen Curry.

Objective: In celebration of the new NBA All-Time 3-Point Leader and Global Brand Ambassador Stephen Curry, Rakuten launched a multi-faceted program to celebrate this momentous achievement with fans and the community.

Rakuten rolled out a series of campaigns to highlight Stephen’s milestone, which aims to inspire fans both on and off the court, and, in true Rakuten fashion, reward fans along the way.

Teamed up with video creator Ari Fararooy to produce a celebratory video that depicts an artistic journey of Stephen through the years for social and digital channels

Partnered with sneaker artist/designer Mache, to create 30 pairs of commemorative Curry Flow sneakers for a Rakuten-owned social sweepstakes where lucky fans could win a memorable piece of art that honors Stephen’s journey to this milestone

Collaborated with non-profit organization Bay Area Mural Program to create a mural in Oakland as a tribute to the community. The art celebrates Stephen’s love for the game and his impact in the community. In addition, the mural integrates a QR code where the first 300 fans to scan and go to local black-owned bookstore, Marcus Books, will receive a free book and a chance to win Warriors tickets and a pair of commemorative sneakers

Strategy & Execution: Rakuten utilized their campaign to connect with fans through (4) touch points.

  1. Tipped off celebrations with a congratulatory digital spot across Rakuten-owned and paid media platforms that featured Stephen’s journey and the joy he brings to the game

  2. Launched a sweepstakes on Rakuten Twitter and Instagram where fans had a chance to win 1 of 30 pairs of commemorative Curry Flow sneakers designed by renowned sneaker designer and artist, Mache. Rakuten increased reach and social buzz by strategically partnering with Mache and influencers Qias Omar, TJ Keasal, and David Gioncgo to create curated content showcasing the sneakers

  3. Collaborated with Bay Area Mural Program artists Natty Rebel, Rachel Wolfe-Goldstein, and Timothy B. to create a one-of-a-kind mural memorializing Stephen’s achievement, his contribution to the Bay Area community as well as positively impact a local black-owned bookstore

  4. PR efforts amplified reach of the sweepstakes and mural with national and local media to hit both the sneakerhead market and Oakland community

Throughout the campaign, Rakuten leveraged their NBA partnerships to amplify reach to fans including the NBA sharing the sweepstakes on their channels, Warriors reposting the digital spot and sweepstakes, and Stephen highlighting the mural on his social channels.

Results: Rakuten successfully engaged with fans nationally and locally by emphasizing Stephen’s inspirational basketball journey and community impact to celebrate his 3PT achievement. In a short window to effectively capitalize on the moment and fans’ excitement, Rakuten executed multiple activations that seamlessly flowed together and allowed Rakuten to continue telling Stephen’s story through art.

The program achieved multiple KPIs including:
• Digital spot reach and buzz
• Increase in followership and traffic to Rakuten Instagram and Twitter
• Sweepstake’s entries
• Influencer impressions and clicks
• Mural QR code scans
• Books donated
• National and local PR coverage


Rakuten, GMR Marketing, NBA, SC30, Pereira O’Dell, Mache Customs, and Bay Area Mural Program.


Ryan Washatka
CEO, KonMari Media, Inc & SVP Sports & Entertainment, Rakuten Americas

Vicki McCrae
SVP of Brand & Creative Strategy

Kristen Gambetta
Senior Director

Rhea Wadia
Sports and Entertainment

Tom Coates
Group Creative Director

Kristen Graham
Group Creative Director

Carly Easterbrook

Carol Lee
Corporate Communications Director

Peter Aiello
GMR Marketing

Kevin Simon
Account Director
GMR Marketing (currently with Ally)

Kayla Cronin-JimĂ©nez
Account Supervisor
GMR Marketing

Dennis Jenders
Senior Strategy Director
GMR Marketing

Denise Pyfrom
Senior Manager, Global Partnerships & Media

Tiffany Williams
SC30, Inc

Hilary Awad
Head of Brand Development
SC30, Inc

Cameron Edison
SC30, Inc

Jordan Ramirez
Digital Marketing Manager
SC30, Inc

Kevin John
Group Brand Director
Pereira O'Dell

Danny Houghton
Brand Director
Pereira O'Dell

Bridget Pierce
Senior Producer
Pereira O'Dell

Jason Rosenberg
Creative Director
Pereira O'Dell

Will Martin
Pereira O'Dell

Connor Witt
Art Director
Pereira O'Dell

Dan Gamache
Mache Customs

Ari Fararooy
Video Creator
Ari Fararooy

Andre Jones
Executive Director
Bay Area Mural Program

Rachel Wolfe-Goldsmith
Creative Director
Bay Area Mural Program

Timothy Bluitt
Lead Artist
Bay Area Mural Program

Keith Williams
Bay Area Mural Program

Celebrate in Las Vegas

Join us for the 4th Hashtag Sports Awards™ presented by Budweiser on the evening of July 12, 2022 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas as we celebrate finalists and reveal the winners of this year's awards live during the show.