How the ‘History Will Be Made’ ad campaign was born

Imagine for a second…

You’re sitting in a war room at the NHL headquarters with a few marketing gurus and your task is to create an ad campaign that will resonate with all hockey fans (young and old) and will hit that special thing in all of us that makes us love the game.

Your mind is drawing a blank and suddenly the image of Bobby Orr flying through the air comes to your mind.  You don’t know where you’re going with this, but you think you’re onto something.  You put your idea up on the story board and someone chimes in “what if Bobby didn’t fly?”.

Sound believable?  Well I hope so because that is how the campaign came to life.  I had the unique opportunity to participate in a conference call this morning with Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President of Marketing for the NHL.  The goal of the campaign is to capture those iconic moments in history that permeate through the years.  Moments like these have defined a guy’s career, a series, or an era.

Hockey fans aren’t like other fans.  Besides our undeniable passion for our sport and our teams, we are a tech savvy bunch.  A by product of a successful ad campaign is the involvement of the target audience and we, as fans, have taken the torch and run with it.  Fans are creating their own videos of what they deem as historic moments.  Something I am very happy to hear the NHL supports.

The NHL has put a plan into action over the last few years to motivate the avid fan and to amplify the base.  The Winter Classic has been a huge success and the NHL is looking at expanding the outdoor games to as many markets as possible.  The increases in ratings, fan participation, and sponsorship have all contributed to the success and growth of hockey in the United States.

The award show and draft are also undergoing some improvements and fans will continue to have an increased view into the teams and players.

The NHL is planning another secret set of videos that will be broadcast during the Stanley Cup finals so stay tuned!