Diageo puts responsible drinkers on ice

NHL sponsor Crown Royal took to the rink to recognize hockey fans who signed up for the whiskey brand’s responsible drinking pledge. During the Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic on March 2, the Diageo-owned brand used one of its in-game dasher boards to display some of the signatures of those who had signed the pledge […]

NHL sponsor Crown Royal took to the rink to recognize hockey fans who signed up for the whiskey brand’s responsible drinking pledge.

During the Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic on March 2, the Diageo-owned brand used one of its in-game dasher boards to display some of the signatures of those who had signed the pledge over the last six months.

Crown Royal launched the “Make the Right Call” campaign in October 2013, just a few months after becoming the “official whiskey of the NHL.” The brand teamed up with former NHL referees Bill McCreary and Don Koharski to raise awareness about responsible drinking and to share their experiences about making the right call on ice.

The ex-refs made appearances at arenas and at liquor retailers in Ontario and B.C., with reproduction dasher boards that fans could sign to show their support.

“They talked about how, as NHL referees for 35 years, they were all about responsibility, accountability and doing the right thing,” said Alanna Stone, senior manager, communications and public relations at Diageo Canada. “They shared what they did on the ice and were able to raise awareness about responsible drinking.”

More than 2,000 in-person signatures were collected. Crown Royal is now encouraging everyone to take the pledge at the new website MakeTheRightCall.ca.

The website was promoted during the Heritage Classic with announcements over the loudspeaker. Those who sign the pledge online can share the link via Twitter and Facebook, encouraging friends and family to sign up.

“It’s not just about our connection to hockey,” said Stone. “Certainly, we reached new consumers because of our NHL partnership. But as a whole, it’s very important to make sure that we are engaging people and having conversations about the importance of responsible drinking.”

Stone said Diageo is working with other liquor boards across Canada to expand the campaign’s reach.

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