Brands Gearing Up For Plenty Of Activation Around Winter Classic
Truly Hard Seltzer's first introduction to the NHL and hockey fans will take place prior to Wednesday's Bridgestone Winter Classic between the Predators and Stars at the Cotton Bowl. "It feels like now we're on the map since we've committed to this truly great big sponsorship with the NHL," said Boston Beer Co. CMO Lesya Lysyj, whose company's portfolio includes Truly. The brand's on-site experience will be encompassed within a custom bubble hockey tent, the brainchild of Senior Experiential Manager Kyle LeTellier, and the company's internal experiential department. Lysyj explained that the tent, which will fit about 100 people, will bring that bubble hockey experience to life as fans feel like they are actually part of the game with lights projecting onto them. Truly, in addition to four other newer NHL sponsors -- Jägermeister, Navy Federal Credit Union, MGM Resorts and MassMutual -- will be activating during the pregame festivities. In total, more than a dozen NHL sponsors will be present on-site, a 20% year-over-year increase, according to the league. "This pre-game experience at Cotton Bowl Stadium and in the Texas State Fair plaza might be the biggest thing we've ever done," said NHL Group VP/Partnership Marketing Evin Dobson. "It's a massive footprint." Dobson added that the on-site increase in sponsors leveraging their NHL relationship is "continued validation" of the league's big event strategy that began over a decade ago. Truly did its marketing work internally for the game.
PERFECT PARTNERSHIP: Bridgestone exec Amber Holm noted the Winter Classic has been a centerpiece of the brand's relationship with the league, title sponsoring the event for 11 years. Holm, who oversees marketing and consumer and customer engagement in the U.S. and Canada, said through the Winter Classic, Bridgestone has produced shoulder programming for social and digital activation, including content via team deals with both the Predators and Stars. Entertaining key customers and dealers throughout the U.S. and Canada in Dallas and providing on-site hospitality experiences for team members are part of the company's Winter Classic plans. Bridgestone has also leveraged an existing relationship with Predators C Matt Duchene and worked with the Predators Foundation to bring a young fan who has cancer and his family to the Winter Classic. "We feel like those athlete stories are so engaging with people," said Holm, who noted tires are not a high engagement category as most people only buy them every three to four years. She added, "Associating the Bridgestone brand with properties like the NHL is a way for us to build familiarity and consideration." Bridgestone worked with Lagardere, Levelwing and Marketing Werks on its plans.
PERFECT STRANGERS: Popular YouTube outfit Dude Perfect recently released a Winter Classic-themed trick-shot video sponsored by NBC sports. It features appearances by Stars C Tyler Seguin and LW Jamie Benn.