Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The San Jose Sharks show the rest of the NHL how it is done.

It is no secret the NHL sucks hard when it comes to advertising. They have had very few good campaigns. Those that work are the ones which actually focus on how cool watching hockey is, such as the "history will be made" ads for the playoffs last year, which I discussed last spring.

But for the most part, the NHL marketers seem to forget that they are trying to get people interested in a sport that is naturally fast and action packed because it is played with ice skates and involves hitting the puck with sticks at a hundred miles an hour. Not to mention the major selling point that it is the only major sport in the US where the refs let the players punch each other.

So instead of making ads with footage of the many exciting elements of game play, or focusing on the players personalities like basketball does, they instead think of gimmicks not related to the players or even to hockey, like the imbecilic "NHL Guardians Project" which combined comic books, something that has been declining in popularity since the 1980's, with hockey, something which has never been popular in the US unless it involved Wayne Gretsky playing for the Kings. 

I can't name any players on the San Jose Sharks besides their captain, Joe Thorton, but that didn't stop me from loving this parody of "The Home Shopping Network" featuring Sharks players making fun of each other. Its over eight minutes long, so you probably won't want to watch the whole thing if you are not a hockey fan, but every second of it is really clever. And the text on the bottom and sides which goes along with each item is as funny as the dialogue.

Long form ads like this do a great job of making existing fans feel like they have more of a vested interest in the team. It really sells the players personalities and makes them seem like the kinda guys you would want to hang out with. This doesn't necessarily translate into wanting to watch them play hockey, but it definitely does a lot more to instill interest in the Sharks and hockey in general than a giant tree that uses sap as a weapon.

via the excellent hockey blog Puck Daddy

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