SBD/December 12, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Provincial Pride: Roots Removes Maple Leafs Display From Ottawa Location

Display of Maple Leafs merchandise caused Senators fan to complain
Canadian clothing company Roots instructed one of its retail stores in Ottawa to modify a "big Toronto Maple Leafs merchandise display" following a complaint from a Senators fan that there was "no equivalent for the local team," according to James Gordon of the OTTAWA CITIZEN. Fan Spencer Callaghan took a picture of the Maple Leafs display and "attached it to a complaint ... to the official Roots public relations Twitter account." The message was later "picked up by Senators fan group Red Scarf Union." Roots yesterday on Twitter indicated that it would be "removing all Leafs good from its capital locations, pointing out the merchandise was still available on its website and in other stores." However, Roots Dir of Communication & Public Affairs Robert Sarner last night said that the company "would in fact continue to sell Leafs goods" in Ottawa. Blaming "confusion" for the initial tweet, Sarner in an e-mail said, "We did instruct the Bayshore location to modify the original display in their store after a few Sens fans perceived (incorrectly) that we favour the Leafs and made certain negative assumptions about us." Callaghan said that an "outright ban was over and above anything he expected or wanted." However, he did say, "Red Sox fans would burn the building down if there was a Yankees display like that." Gordon noted removing all Maple Leafs merchandise "would have been a bold move from a business perspective," as recent games between the Leafs and Senators "suggest split loyalties" (, 12/11).
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