We The North Commercial – I Don’t Get It

We The North

Deconstructing the commercial, lyrically and visually. Source: fubiz.net

Hash tag “We The North” has swept the nation. The Toronto Raptors marketing department has instilled national pride in the NBA’s lone Canadian team. The “We The North” commercial has galvanized us, uniting Raptors fans as slighted, plucky underdogs.

The creators of the commercial and campaign deserve a ton of credit. The slogan is constantly referenced by fans, hardcore and casual alike. But have you ever actually listened to the ad? And have you made sense of the visuals? Allow me to deconstruct this transcendent commercial.

This transcendent commercial…. that makes little sense.


The first several scenes/frames are acceptable - scenic shots of Toronto, a guy with a Raptors jacket about to play basketball, some 3-on-3 games, all interspersed with flashes of Raptors highlights. These are followed by several bizarre shots, (with interludes of plausible Toronto basketball scenes), including:

-a 2-on-2 match with a garbage can emitting fire, presumably for light and heat. This type of thing does not happen in my city.

-people playing basketball in the snow. This does not happen in my city.

-a guy shooting alone in the dark, with a ring of fire gathering along the pavement, accompanied by that familiar garbage can on fire.

-the only girl playing basketball in the whole commercial – an insult to the growing women’s basketball community in Toronto. Also, this girl is playing defence in the pouring rain. No one plays basketball in the pouring rain in my city.

-a basketball goes through the net and catches fire. I didn’t know this was going to be a special effects piece.

-a dog sits on a basketball court, looking scary. Is Toronto known for dogs? (ed note: good comment from Eric about this being a huskie, referencing Toronto’s first pro basketball team)

-More basketball with heavy snow coming down.

That’s seven scenes that simply make no sense. But fire is cool, so I back it.


“We…. the north. In many ways we’re in a league of our own. One step removed. Just beyond the boundaries. Some would say we’re on the outside lookin’ in.”

Fine. Toronto’s in Canada, the rest of the league is in the States.

“But from our perspective? We’re on the outside lookin’ in.”

What? We’re looking within ourselves? For what?

“‘Cause that’s where the effort resides. Toughness is found. The aggression is tapped. On the inside.”

So…. we look within ourselves for the toughness. Where else would we look?

“And far from the east side. Miles from the west side. Nowhere near the south side. We are the north side.”

Weird that Canada is differing distances from the east and west side of the States. I guess we’re pretty far from the South side, though.

“A territory all our own. If that makes us outsiders? We’re in.”

If what makes us outsiders? That we’re far from the east side? That we look within ourselves for toughness?

I’m confused.

But I’m ignited all the same.


  1. eric says:

    I think that the dog is a huskie, in reference to Toronto’s first pro basketball team.

  2. Rob says:

    Dude, its pretty safe to say you missed the point here. Its a good commercial and it makes sense.

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