Archive for March, 2012

Vancouver Canucks Launch “Celebrate Responsibly” campaign for 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs

June 15, 2011: After the Vancouver Canucks lost in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final 4-0 to the Boston Bruins, the image of the city of  Vancouver was tarnished after some troublemakers decided to start a riot in the streets. 14 months after the city was shown in a global spotlight as the host city of the 2010 Winter Olympics, that spotlight was shown again; this time in pictures of looting storefronts, tear gas, and burning cars.

Last night, Canucks Sports & Entertainment launched the “This is Our Home” campaign designed with one simple message in mind: to celebrate responsibly. The 60-second public service announcement was filmed in over 20 locations throughout Greater Vancouver. The ad features Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin, alternate captains Kevin Bieksa, Ryan Kesler, Manny Malhotra and Daniel Sedin along with Canucks Alumni Trevor Linden and Stan Smyl and a contingent of passionate Canuck fans.

As an organization, Canucks Sports & Entertainment is dedicated to building awareness for the importance of respecting your fellow fan and insisting others do the same to ensure responsible and passionate fan behavior. The ‘This is Our Home’ campaign, which Canucks Sports & Entertainment has consulted on with the City of Vancouver, encourages all fans to celebrate responsibly and to respect one another at all times.

Here’s to hoping the city won’t burn down to the ground…again.

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Coach’s Corner Rewind: March 24, 2012

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Coach’s Corner Rewind: St. Patrick’s Day Edition (March 17, 2012)

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Behind the “Because It’s The Cup” Campaign for the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs

In 2010, the NHL unveiled a dynamic campaign to promote the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Each 30-second commercial showed historical moments from playoffs past, with the moment suddenly played in reverse, ending with a “What if…?” question. The basis of the “History Will Be Made” campaign asked the fans the question of “If it wasn’t for these iconic moments, what would we remember?” The campaign was so successful, that it not only drove interest and television viewership during the playoffs that year, but connected with fans on an emotional level and inspired them to create and post their own versions of the TV spots to YouTube, generating more than 2,400 fan-created commercials and more than 8 million total views. Last year, the “History Will Be Made” campaign showed moments from the playoffs straight forward, ending with a “History…” statement. The basis of that campaign asked the fans “What does history create when it is made?” Now in a dynamic shift to lure in casual and non-hockey fans, this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs promotional campaign uses the tagline “Because It’s The Cup.”

Brian Jennings, NHL executive vice president for marketing, said to Sports Business Journal Daily, “In an attempt to attract casual hockey fans and sports fans who aren’t partial to hockey, league marketers are trying to turn the Stanley Cup playoffs into their own version of March Madness.

This year’s campaign capitalizes on the social connecting force of the Stanley Cup and the Playoffs. From old friends gathering in their living rooms to new friendships forged over a beer at the local pub to the fan connections created by discussions and debates on Facebook and Twitter, the Stanley Cup Playoffs has the power to bring people together to share in the excitement of each team’s quest to hoist the Stanley Cup.

The new campaign has three basic aims:

  1. Celebrating the Stanley Cup. The league’s research shows that even the most casual of sports fans identifies with the Cup as the ultimate prize of the NHL postseason. So along with ads that celebrate the chase for it, and those teams that eventually win it, the campaign will also deal directly with the hardware itself and the Cup’s quirky history.
  2. Team-Specific “Because It’s The Cup” Ads. Like the “History Will Be Made” campaign, this new promotion will tailor ads to specific teams. Some of these ads cater to diehard fans, while others strike a more populist tone.
  3. Socialization of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. For years, the NHL has tried to make the playoffs a time for parties, bar viewing and hanging with friends on your rec room couch. That’s all communicated in this facet of the campaign, that seeks to capture casual fans in the excitement of the playoffs by showing them how fun it is to hug people after goals.

The shift from “History Will Be Made,” which was directed at avid fans, to “Because It’s The Cup,” which is aimed at casual and non-fans, was based on research among casual and non-hockey fans showing that even those who could barely name a player on a team other than their own still have a knowledge of and appreciation for the Stanley Cup’s heritage.

That recognition is our opportunity to take advantage of. If we are going to get new fans, this is the time of year to do it, when they can see the best hockey.”

In each 30-second commercial is a string of sentences, each one beginning with the word “Because.” For example, the first ad of the “Because It’s The Cup” campaign entitled “Two Halftimes”:

Because it’s good to get together over something cold.

Because it all started as a good excuse to go out on a Wednesday night.

Because in hockey, there are two halftimes.

Because when somebody’s playing every night, that means you can, too.

Because It’s The Cup.

In print ads, for example, one ads shows a picture of St. Louis Blues forward David Backes ready to take a faceoff. The caption reads “Because you can’t take your eyes off of it.” Another ad shows a picture of Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux battling for the puck on the boards. The caption reads “Because every inch is worth fighting for.” And if you recently stopped by the NHL Store powered by Reebok in New York, you can see more examples of the power of the campaign. A photo of Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas says “Because every inch counts.” A photo of Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk says “Because you can see magic every night.” A photo of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin says “Because its more than 8 ounces of frozen rubber.” And a photo of New Jersey Devils forward Zach Parise says “Because he’s chasing more than the puck.” And then there are the ads that are self-explanatory: the ones that feature Lord Stanley’s mug. There’s one that says “Because the next chapter is about to be written.”  And there’s one that says “Because once you pick it up, you’ll never want to put it down.” 

To put it in short, there’s a reason why during this time of year, overtime continues for another 20-minute period until the next team scores. There’s a reason why fans in Detroit throw an octopus on the ice before a game. There’s a reason why 18,000-plus fans in Vancouver wave white towels in the air in support of the Canucks. There’s a reason why you hear “God Bless America” in Philadelphia instead of “The Star-Spangled Banner”.  There’s a reason why fans pass around a large Canadian flag during the playing of “O Canada” in Ottawa. There’s a reason everyone in  Winnipeg is wearing a white shirt, or a red shirt in Washington And there’s a reason why grown men like to grow facial hair during this time of year. There’s a reason why we do all of this. Because It’s The Cup.

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Off the Ice: Creating the Final Four Court

Everyone knows how painstaking it is to create the rink for a Winter Classic/Heritage Classic. But imagine how painstaking it is to create the court for the NCAA Final Four? Connor Sport Court has been the exclusive supplier of basketball courts for the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Division i Basketball Championships since 2006. The videos below show a time-lapse of how the courts for the 2010 and the 2012 Final Four are made. One recent signature of the court is at the bottom where the slogan “The Road Ends Here” is painted. Flanked on both sides are the logos of the previous (and future) Final Fours that have been held (or will hold) in the host city. (Indianapolis had previously held the Final Four in 1980, 1991, 1997, 2000, 2006, and 2010, and will hold it again in 2015; New Orleans had previously held the Final Four in 1982, 1987, 1993, and 2003)


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Coach’s Corner Rewind: March 10, 2012

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Coach’s Corner Rewind: March 3, 2012

It has been a monumental week for the 78-year-old Canadian Hockey icon. First, he and Coach’s Corner producer Kathy Broderick join the twitterverse. (@CoachsCornerCBC) And tonight, The Wrath of Grapes: The Don Cherry Story II, the sequel to the 2010 miniseries Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story premieres on CBC. But yesterday, on the heels of the firing of Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson, Grapes unleashed a tirade of epic proportions directed towards Leafs General Manager Brian Burke that you have to see to believe.

Author’s Note: For anyone that hasn’t seen Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story, it’s the story of a journeyman hockey player toiling in the minor leagues for 16 years only, to play in only one game for the Boston Bruins in 1955. However, success wouldn’t find him until, when at the age of 39, he succeeded Bep Guidolin as the head coach of the Boston Bruins. In his 5 seasons as bench boss of the Big Bad Bruins, he coached 400 games; winning a franchise-high 231 games, won the Jack Adams Award in 1976 as the NHL’s best head coach, and led the Bruins to back-to-back Stanley Cup Final appearances in 1977 and 1978.

The Wrath of Grapes: The Don Cherry Story II picks up the story where Keep Your Head Up, Kid left off. After spending the 1979-80 season coaching the Colorado Rockies, producers of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada decided that Grapes would be perfect as an analyst for a first intermission segment that would be known as The Coach’s Corner. After doing the weekly segment for a week or two, he realized that the weekly HNIC segment wouldn’t draw in more viewers watching the game, But there was a reason why the producers of Hockey Night in Canada picked the former Adams Award winner to do The Coach’s Corner. When he had to do interviews as a coach, he was loud, opinionated, and partisan. The Coach’s Corner gave the experience of putting you, the viewer, inside the dressing room during an in-game situation. And for the last 32 years, that’s exactly what he does every Saturday night during the first intermission of the first game of the Hockey Night in Canada doubleheader. In the preview clip above, the scene shows the first meeting between Cherry and new Hockey Night in Canada studio host Ron MacLean back in 1986.

The Wrath of Grapes chronicles Don Cherry’s tenure as an analyst on Hockey Night in Canada. From his stance on fighting in hockey, to foreign players, to even the dreaded 7-second delay, through it all, there’s a reason why Coach’s Corner is the signature segment of Hockey Night in Canada and is consistently the highest-rated spot on Canadian television: Don Cherry is devoutly passionate for the game of hockey and is extremely loyal to the Federal Dominion of Canada,

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