SBD/August 15, 2013/Franchises

Blue Jackets See Fast Results From Campaign Featuring First-Year Exec John Davidson

Davidson and others with the Blue Jackets do several events with small fan groups
A recent Blue Jackets marketing campaign features President of Hockey Operations John Davidson in a series of TV ads, and "in large part because of Davidson's skills as a broadcaster, the marketing campaign is already working," according to Tim Feran of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH. The team has "sold almost 1,600 new full-season tickets or their equivalent, compared with a little more than 600 two years ago at the same time." Blue Jackets Senior VP & CMO John Browne said that total full-season tickets or equivalents this year "number almost 8,100 compared with almost 7,300 at this time" in '11. Browne said, "John speaks with such credibility, such honesty, the way he connects with people is wonderful. He’s money.” Feran notes the Blue Jackets' new marketing campaign "came about when the team made a run at the playoffs last season, falling just short." Management "sensed an opportunity to connect with fans and contacted local marketing agency treetree." The agency's Chief Creative Officer Tiffany Wise said, "As we talked to some key stakeholders, some insights came up. They wanted a more image-based, more emotional campaign -- emotional, where in the past it was a promotional campaign.” Davidson came to the team in October, and treetree agreed that having him "talk about his passion for the game could set the tone for the image they wanted to present." The marketing campaign "started in April and will evolve, with some commercials using coach Todd Richards and others using players as the season goes on." Browne said the team has "done a series of events with smaller groups," and when the players, Richards, or Davidson talk to fans it is "very authentic" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 8/15).

NOW HIRING: In Columbus, Michael Arace writes recently hired Blue Jackets Assistant GM Bill Zito and Broadcast Associate & Team Ambassador Jody Shelley are "important assets and hiring them comes off as organically smart." It is an "indication that the garden is increasingly well-tended." Hiring Shelley was "a no-brainer, really, given his popularity and quality of character." The team "created a position that plays to Shelley's strengths." The best NHL organizations are "top-heavy with smart people," and the Blue Jackets' front office is now "stacked as compared with a year ago." Zito will bring "another wise and cultured voice to hockey ops" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 8/14).
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