Because It's The Cup - Tim Thomas - 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Commercial
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Published on Mar 21, 2012
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Because It's The Cup - The 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Starting April 11th.
"History Will Be Made" became history after last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs. The two-year-old promotion that featured nostalgic moments of postseason glory was one of the most successful advertising campaigns in recent NHL history — especially from a digital perspective, thanks to hundreds of viral video tributes from fans.
But it didn't reach far enough, when the goal is to expand hockey's playoff audience.
"It was nothing short of spectacular. But if you weren't kind of 'in the know', then it wasn't the most welcoming entry point for someone at that time of year," said Brian Jennings, executive VP of marketing for the NHL.
"History was great, but the word 'history' was limiting," he said. "The word 'because' gave us more room to move."
Earlier this season, the NHL welcomed "self-defined sports fans" that didn't have negative impressions of hockey to focus groups in Los Angeles, Toronto and New York. The goal was to gauge their awareness of the League and the playoffs, and to determine what the right selling points were for a "casual" fan.
Problem No. 1: "People had trouble listing a couple of guys on the Kings and the Rangers" when asked, according to Jennings. Which makes player-centric ads a tough sell.
Problem No. 2: After all these years on NBC and VERSUS-turned-NBC Sports Network, these fans still weren't sure where to find the playoffs on television. "They'd say, 'You have to intercept me. I have a busy life. I can't find you,'" said Jennings.
But there were also signs of tantalizing encouragement: These fans generally liked the NHL; and they loved the Stanley Cup.
At the end of the focus group, the facilitator would ask, "What is the championship trophy that gets given out at the end of the year?"
"Unanimously, men and women, would say the Stanley Cup," said Jennings. They knew its prestige and they knew about its traditions: From skating the Cup to having each player spend a day with it during the offseason. "It has a ton of equity," he said.
The NHL's new campaign began to take form. Fans will watch sports for any number of reasons. Fans will watch the NHL Playoffs "Because It's The Cup."
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