SBD/Issue 16/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Belief System: OLN Breaks New “We Believe” NHL Ad Campaign

“We believe in hockey” is the tagline for OLN’s new NHL ad campaign that broke Saturday, according to Andy Bernstein of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The campaign, produced by Fort Franklin, Boston, “features clips of past NHL games and fans cheering,” and relies on “more familiar images from the sport” than the league’s “Warrior” campaign. The first ad shows a shot of Coyotes Managing General Partner & coach Wayne Gretzky with a voice saying, “We believe in The Great One,” then a shot of Penguins C Sidney Crosby with the voice saying, “and the Next One.” OLN’s buying agency, Connecticut-based Media Storm, “will do spot cable buys in the home market of clubs competing on the network” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/3 issue). OLN runs a full-page ad in today’s N.Y. Times promoting its season-opening Rangers-Flyers broadcast Wednesday. The ad reads, “We Believe In Being Relentless And Diving In Front Of A 90 MPH Slap Shot” (THE DAILY).

QUITE FRANKLY: Fort Franklin CEO & Creative Dir Marc Gallucci would not give a value of the agreement with OLN, but said that the deal “is a major piece” of the company’s business, “roughly 25[%] of its billings for the year.” In Boston, Jesse Noyes reports the campaign has “spurred the hiring of five new staffers with five more positions yet to be filled.” Noyes writes Fort Franklin’s “solid standing with ESPN makes the shift to a rival a gamble.” However, Gallucci said that while his company was “one of a handful of agencies ESPN hired,” it now is the “primary firm for OLN.” Gallucci: “You have to calculate your risk. I believe OLN is a minimal risk” (BOSTON HERALD, 10/3).

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: Meanwhile, Conductor, L.A., President Tom Cotton, whose company produced the “Warrior” ad campaign that drew criticism from outgoing NCWO Chair Martha Burk, said the company “wanted to portray a mythical shrine to hockey and sell the idea of these players as warriors.” Cotton: “The woman [in the ads] is a tough cookie. She is an equal to the player. She is his physical and spiritual trainer. If we were portraying this in some hyper-real way it would not be appropriate, but this is clearly a myth. What was Ms. Burk looking at?” But Calgary-based Institute for Hockey Research Dir of Education Mike Bracko said the commercial “would not propel a family –-well, maybe if the father has high levels of testosterone -– to go to a hockey game so his kids could see scantily clad women, warriors and swords” (L.A. TIMES, 10/3).

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