SBJ/20081208/This Week's News

Reebok finds ‘lost’ promo for Winter Classic

Reebok is mounting a watch-and-win promotion during NBC’s telecast of the NHL’s Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, when the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings play the Chicago Blackhawks outdoors at Wrigley Field.

The “Lost Logo Challenge” asks TV viewers and the 40,000 expected at the game to find the lone NHL player without a Reebok logo on his jersey. TV viewers can enter the challenge online, while attendees will be given Reebok and Winter Classic branded binoculars and be able to text in their entries. All entrants naming the correct player will be entered into a random drawing, with two winners receiving trips to the Stanley Cup Finals for four. Non-winning entrants get discounts on Reebok merchandise.

The Winter Classic clubs will wear
Reebok retro uniforms.

It’s no coincidence that Reebok wants to draw attention to the jerseys, as both teams will debut retro uniforms from Reebok at the game. The Blackhawks will wear jerseys first seen in 1935, while the Red Wings will don sweaters from 1926. The size of the Winter Classic merchandise selection, much of it from Reebok, has doubled this year, and includes outerwear, fleece, caps, gloves and scarves. It will be largely available online and in the Detroit and Chicago markets.

“We thought it was a great way to cement our message of authenticity,” said John McMahon, marketing director for Reebok’s sports licensed division. “Hopefully, what this promotion does is turn the light bulb on with consumers that Reebok is the brand on the field of play.”

Last year’s Winter Classic in Buffalo between the Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins received the NHL’s best U.S. TV rating in 12 years, a 2.2/4 Nielsen rating, and also generated tremendous buzz. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said topping that rating is not a prerequisite for calling the second Winter Classic a success. “It’s about finding ways to connect with fans that are unique,” he said. “That’s the direction we are heading in, whether it’s online or on our ice.”

NHL officials are mum on additional marketing activation for the game. League execs are still hoping to sell a title sponsorship package. Pepsi’s Amp Energy was title sponsor of last year’s game. Sources said Chicago-based Sears was close to titling Winter Classic II, but recently decided against it.

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