Hockey brand watching and waiting to adjust global media and creative
There might not be any NHL hockey to watch this year, but the lockout isn’t stopping Bauer from helping amateur hockey players to “Own the Moment.”
The hockey equipment manufacturer recently unveiled a fully integrated global campaign that’s putting the spotlight on young amateur players, focusing on the numerous on- and off-ice moments that make hockey such a unique and special game for many kids. It’s the first hockey campaign from Bauer in more than 15 years to focus solely on the brand.
Though Bauer and its Minneapolis-based agency of record Olson have developed a slate of creative featuring both hockey amateurs and renowned pros, the NHL lockout forced the brand to shift its focus upon launch.
“[The lockout] has been a challenge, but we actually looked at that challenge and made it a positive for us,” said Steve Jones, director of global marketing and brand strategy for Bauer Hockey. “We were always going to include the amateur players as part of the mix when we set out to do this campaign, because hockey moments resonate whether you’re an NHL player, a kid starting out, or a parent of a young player.
“The lockout gave us the opportunity to put the spotlight on those younger kids who aren’t usually in the spotlight in marketing campaigns and let those kids talk about their moments.”
While spreading the “Own the Moment” mantra, the initial stages of the campaign also encourages consumers to submit videos of their hockey moments for a chance to be featured in an upcoming global TV commercial slated to run during the IIHF Ice Hockey Would Junior Championship in late December, as well as during the NHL Winter Classic – assuming it happens – in the U.S. and Canada.
Initially intending to include top-notch NHL players in the campaign as well, Bauer is playing the “wait and see game” with the lockout before it makes a final decision on stars’ inclusion in the ad, Jones said. Bauer has plans to unveil additional creative elements in the months ahead featuring some of hockey’s biggest names, including Steven Stamkos, Alex Ovechkin, Claude Giroux, Henrik Lundqvist, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
However, Jones said the brand can afford to wait before deciding to unleash that creative since content is slated to run through mid-December.
On top of the high-profile hockey media placements, the campaign also features a comprehensive print media buy, executed in tandem by Bauer and Olson. The main media spending focus is TV, online ads and an in-depth digital experience through Bauer.com and the brand’s social media channels.
In Canada specifically, the media buy includes digital inventory with TSN, The Hockey News and regional hockey publications. Of course, as a result of the lockout, there have been challenges for Bauer in executing the buy as it pertains to ad placement on NHL-specific media properties – the Winter Classic in particular. As with its creative executions, the lockout’s forced Bauer to shift its focus.
Jones said he is “dialing back some of the larger NHL properties, focusing more on grassroots and social media avenues.”
Other avenues for the brand include significant buys it’s conducting in Canada and Europe to leverage the World Juniors, NCAA partnerships and broadcast opportunities available to it through a partnership with the Canadian Hockey League.
Despite the fact that the lockout has thrown something of a wrench into its advertising works, Jones said that, according to all early indications, Bauer has a campaign that’s resonating. Right now, like everyone else, it just wants to see both sides get back on the ice and start playing as soon as possible.