Wild Wing’s KO: boxing and bikinis

The Ontario-based restaurant chain is determined to push out an American competitor with a 'sexier' marketing push.

On Sept. 4, Canadian heavyweight champion Neven ‘No Surrender’ Pajkic will take on Raphael ‘The Silencer’ Butler in a TSN-broadcast boxing match sponsored by Wild Wing, an Aurora, ON.-based restaurant chain.

The presenting sponsorship of the red-carpet event, which features three other fights at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, is the start of a new marketing push for the franchise, which is set to expand into Western Canada this year. Fighters will wear the brand logo on their shorts, and the brand will also host a ‘Ms. Wild Wing 2010′ bikini competition at the event, in which 10 women will each represent a Wild Wing flavour (for example, ‘Blue Eyed Blonde’ and ‘Sweet Cheeks’).

‘It’s a coming out party for the brand,’ says Rick Smiciklas, Wild Wing’s founder and CEO who last week said he will attempt to thwart expansion plans of US wings chain Buffalo Wild Wings.

This includes a potential legal challenge over naming rights, says Smiciklas, who founded the 80-restaurant Wild Wing franchise in 1999. But should Buffalo Wild Wings make its way into Canada, he also wants Wild Wing to stand out from the American competitor with a sexier image, Smiciklas explains.

‘It’s wings and sex with us. [For] the Buffalo guys that are trying to come in, it’s wings and sports,’ Smiciklas tells MiC.

Wild Wing plans to open 100 more restaurants across Canada within the next three years, starting with seven in Alberta this year and about a dozen in BC and eastern Canada by 2012. In-store and print advertising will promote the local openings, a spokesperson for Wild Wing confirmed. The brand’s marketing and media plan is handled internally.