Thursday, September 22, 2005

My NHL... But Who and What The Heck Is That?

The NHL yesterday unveiled its new ad campaign, "My NHL", which consists of five short clips following a hockey "warrior" as he prepares to do "battle". Click here to see the first clip.

I like the concept behind the ad campaign; but unfortunately it falls short on the delivery. The warrior persona depicts all hockey players; the battles they go through stir the fans' passions and emotions. Perhaps for the first time in the NHL's marketing history, it attempts to enable fans to identify with their warriors.
The new advertising creative is intended to connect fans and players through an emotionally-charged campaign unlike any other in professional sports.
However, if the NHL wanted to connect its fans to its players, why did it use a non-NHL player as the centerpiece for the campaign? As a hockey fan, I don't care if Mr. GQ goes to battle. I care if Markus Naslund or Todd Bertuzzi or Ed Jovanovski go to battle. How do they expect the fan to connect to a player they don't know? Imagine the same ad and seeing Bertuzzi getting ready for game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Imagine his stare, his growl before skating onto the ice. A lot more effective, huh?

Also, if the NHL wanted to draw fans to the game, then why do they not actually show the game? In this first 30-second ad, they showed 29 seconds of a guy getting changed and two half-second flash clips from an actual NHL game - it might make the casual viewer want to run out and buy a pair of Hanes or some Axe Effect, but certainly not to go out and watch a hockey game.

At the very least the league had a good concept to market the new NHL. I just wish it remembered what it was marketing.

posted by J.J. Guerrero, 8:35 PM


At September 23, 2005 10:22 AM, Blogger Sacred Cow said...

I disagree with you. I think the ad campaign looks great and I think it will capture the attention of non-NHL fans. That's who they are after, not you and me. We are huge NHL fans, the kind that watch every game, read every article and even create our own blogs about our favorite teams. They've got our money and loyalty. They are trying to reach the people that just like sports, or who would like hockey if they ever got turned on to it. This is not for the folks in Canada, but for the folks here in America. If they show these ads in a movie theater, I think it will work. It will capture peoples attention and imagination and they'll think "that looks really cool" and maybe next time they are channel surfing and nothing is on they will tune in to an NHL game. Hopefully they like it and the NHL gets a new fan.

Great blog, I enjoy reading it, and here's hoping the Ducks and Canucks meet in the Western Conference Finals this year. How great would the quotes from Brian Burke be then?


At September 23, 2005 8:41 PM, Blogger hoopsjunky said...

Good point in that the NHL is no doubt trying to appeal to the non-NHL fan - Americans do like the epic drama and this is right up that alley. Like I said, I like the concept behind the ad campaign. However I feel it's lacking in that it doesn't say anything NHL except for those two bits of flash clips and the "My NHL" at the end - it looks cool but it doesn't adequately identify the NHL product. In other words, the ad may pique the interest of casual viewers but it may not be entirely clear to what.

Further, the league has Crosby, Roenick, Iginla, Naslund,etc. - all marketable players - and they easily could have been used instead of this Will Bryant character. I venture that some new fans will go to the game and ask what team Will Bryant plays for. Put it this way - you won't see the NBA market itself without Lebron or Kobe or Shaq.

It's too bad really. The league was on the right track and used the right feel, atmosphere, etc. to create the ad. They just forgot to include the product.

PS. Good to see you back and posting. :)


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