SBJ/November 27 - December 3, 2006/This Weeks News

OneGoal launches ads to boost youth hockey

Speed and physicality dominate professional hockey, but two commercials set to appear on Versus in the next month will show a softer side of the game as part of a marketing effort to increase youth hockey participation.

Nonprofit OneGoal includes the NHL, NHLPA,
USA Hockey and several hockey brands.

The campaign is a product of OneGoal, a nonprofit group that includes the NHL, NHL Players’ Association, USA Hockey and a consortium of hockey brands that include Nike-Bauer and Reebok/CCM. Together, they have contributed more than $1 million to help boost youth hockey participation, which fell by 1.6 percent between 2000 and 2005, according to USA Hockey.

“If we do this right, this could be the best team effort to ever grow the game,” said Mike Whan, OneGoal chairman and president of Mission-Itech, a hockey equipment company.

The spots, titled “Pea” and “Spitball,” are the second phase of an effort that began with the launch of a Web site in September. They cost $175,000 collectively and were developed by Periscope out of Minneapolis, Minn.

In the first commercial, a 6-year-old boy hovers over a plate of peas, then uses a knife to shoot them across the room and into a hole in the wall. The next shot shows him scoring a goal on ice, as a voice-over says, “Hockey teaches a kid determination, teamwork and a darn good shot, too.”

The second spot shows a boy firing a spitball across a classroom and a girl lifting a book to block it just before it hits her face. The next scene shows her playing goalie at a local rink.

“Even though they’re short and simple, the message is clear,” Whan said. “These are kids being kids using some of the skills and confidences they develop which are applicable in hockey.”

The spots have been cut at 30-second and 25-second intervals. The latter are designed so that local NHL teams can run them on their regional networks and tack on a five-second addition highlighting the team.

While they will appear during hockey games watched by a hockey audience, Whan said the goal is to move the commercials into other targeted time slots, such as Saturday morning cartoons.

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