SBD/October 12, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

NHL Lockout, Day 27: Sponsors Draw Up Contingency Plans To Replace Hockey Presence

Kraft Canada may cancel this year's Hockeyville promotion due to lockout
NHL sponsors and advertisers are "now anxiously drawing up contingency plans in case more -- or eventually all -- of the season is compromised," according to Susan Krashinsky of the GLOBE & MAIL. Scotiabank Senior VP & Head of Marketing Duncan Hannay said, "The big impact for us is, we really have to plan our media strategy down two tracks -- with hockey, and without hockey." Krashinsky notes Kraft Canada "capitalizes on its sponsorship with its 'Hockeyville' program in partnership with the CBC, which allows communities to compete for prize money to upgrade their local arena." But with "questions about this year’s nomination process already coming in, the company has been forced to consider whether Hockeyville will be a reality in 2013." Kraft Canada VP/Marketing Services Jack Hewitt said, “We have a date we’ve agreed to with all the partners, where we’ll have to make a call on whether we continue with another community-based program.” He added that the company "has been working with an agency to develop that alternative event." Toronto-based Charlton Strategic Research President Gord Hendren, whose company conducts an annual survey of sports fans for clients such as Air Canada and Tim Hortons, said that the "brand health of the NHL is 'the best its ever been.'" He added that companies that were "perceived to be NHL sponsors ... enjoyed a 41 per cent lift in consumers’ opinions of their brand last season, and a 33 per cent increase in purchase consideration compared to those not seen as sponsors." Sun Life Financial CMO Mary DePaoli said that the company will "be announcing the launch of a high-profile fan event on Grey Cup Sunday, in partnership with the CFL." She said, "It’s a big investment on our part. And it’s something we may not have done if hockey was happening” (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/12).
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