Brent Burns skates on toy fire trucks. Logan Couture sings while lounging on a piano. Joe Thornton gets rabies. And those are just a few scenes in the new San Jose Sharks advertising campaign.
As the 2019 NHL season kicks off with a playoff rematch against Vegas, our advertising and marketing campaign kicks off with a series of new TV, radio, digital and social executions. And while Sharks players still star alongside Sharks fans as in years past, this campaign is not like years past. For one thing, it’s animated. For another, it’s based on a strategic insight that came out of market research.
After sending a bunch of non-hockey fans to Sharks games and having them film and document their experiences, it became clear that Sharks fans could come from all walks of life. Previous experience with hockey didn’t seem to matter. The main thing we learned: “You don’t have to be into hockey to enjoy a Sharks game.”
With this nugget in hand, gleaned with the help of our strategic partners at Paragraph Project, we wrote a few scripts around the idea and tried to explain the game in the context of other things that people might be into.
But we knew this campaign couldn’t be produced like past campaigns. It had to be animated. So we turned to Matt Vescovo, an animator, writer, director and fortunately for us, an old friend. Together, we collaborated on the TV scripts and developed a series that crossed over a whole myriad of activities that people might be into more than hockey: decorating, dating, going to the dog park, bird watching, yoga, book club etc.
The marketing team at the Sharks was all in. In fact, it was their idea to take the concept beyond the original radio scripts. We further collaborated with them to come up with more ideas and directions for the campaign. As usual, the Sharks behaved less like traditional clients and more like creative partners, pushing us as much as we push them.
In the end, there are nine TV spots that we will edit and alter to use for digital marketing, social media campaigns, in-stadium content, along with more than 15 radio spots and who knows what else.
But for now, the first spot has launched, the home opener is tonight, Matt is working his ass off to get the drawings done and the edits complete. The rest of the campaign activations are well underway. In the meantime, let’s kick the crap out of Vegas and get the season going.
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