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As an addendum to my post yesterday reviewing all of the 2007 SuperBowl ads -- I was watching the Oscars last night, and the GM "suicidal robot" ad came on... and it had a different ending! That is, it no longer had the "commits suicide by jumping off a bridge" ending.

Instead, the ad was slightly longer, and the end featured what looked to me like the depressed robot, after failing at a string of unappealing jobs, passing by a junkyard and watching a big crane dropping a crushed car on top of a junk-heap, from which the car came tumbling down. That was the thing that made the robot "gasp" and wake up from its "nightmare".

See my comment to ravenhbh at the end of my previous post, for an over-thinking analysis of what this change might signal about the "reading" of the commercial. (Overall, I still don't think it's very positive; it's just no longer *as* gobsmackingly insensitive as it was.)

And while we're on the subject of the SuperBowl ads -- elishavah commented, "Except for the huge viewing audience, the good SB commercials aren't really different from the great ones we get throughout the year now." And I basically agreed with that. I was reminded of it as I was watching the Oscars, during which I saw a number of ads (many of them with movie/film themes) that, honestly, I felt were the equal or better of the SuperBowl ads, and indeed with a much-decreased "people acting dumb" quotient.


Continuing in the vein of advertising, I wanted to share with folks some of the recent funny commercials that the NHL has been making. This is also sort of a survey -- because I'd love to know if anyone out there has SEEN these commercials on regular TV. I personally have only seen them during hockey games, which... *headdesk*, NHL.

The NHL has had two major ad campaigns since the start of the 2006-07 season. The first was "Game On!", which was designed to "remind" people that the new season was starting/had started. I found the spots a little surreal, and mildly funny. They were at least trying to take advantage of some of the most recognizable/popular faces in the NHL today, both new and old. One ad, which I can't find, featured new wunderkind Sidney Crosby. Another featured famous veteran Peter Forsberg:


So, more recently, the NHL's newest campaign is "my NHL: Hockey players are just like you and me". With one exception, I've found these ads to be cute, and fairly funny. Again, they're trying to take advantage of popular names and faces that folks (who watch hockey, at least) know, and via the commercials, I think, they are trying to impart a "personality" to the guys who are basically known for their feats on-ice.

Here is an example featuring Alex Ovechkin, who plays with the Washington Capitals. Ovechkin was a rookie last year, he's from Russia, he's enthusiastic and personable, and he's a stupidly talented goal-scorer. Last season was enlivened by the "rivalry" between him and fellow rookie Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who was another stupidly-talented goal-scorer.


And here is a more recent example, featuring the Sedin twins of the Vancouver Canucks. The Sedins are known for... well, for being identical twins (who annoyingly wear the same hairstyle and even facial hair; presumably because they like messing with people), for having played their entire hockey lives together, for being eerily in sync with each other (as you might expect identical twins to be), and thus for being very good (if not "superlative") goal-scorers and who are almost invariably in on each other's goals, and who tend to make anyone who plays on a line with them look good. Neither of them is a Wayne Gretsky or a Mario Lemieux, but they get notoriety anyway because hey, how many identical twins who've been line-mates since about age 6 does the NHL have?


As telepresence commented after I sent this to him: "Okay, that was fucking hilarious. Although obviously gender and sexuality are contributing factors to how the comedy works in the ad, it's not offensive and homophobic like the Snickers ad."

Finally, the latest entry in this campaign features 18 players who went to the NHL All-Star game. Now, I grant you -- I'm a hockey *fan*, and I could only recognize a few of the guys by face, although I did know all of their names. Still, I think it's a cute and funny ad:


The guy on the phone is Alex Ovechkin, as described above. His "rivalry" with Sidney Crosby comes into play in the commercial. Some of the other notable cameos: the guy stuffing his face from the dessert trolley is Joe Thornton (now of the San Diego Sharks, formerly captain of the Boston Bruins); the guy asleep on the couch is Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco (who's a funny, laid-back kind of guy from everything I've seen); the guy tickling Turco's nose with the feather is rival Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo (who despite the name is French-Canadian). (I think the guy standing next to him, from the Buffalo Sabres, is another goalie, but he's one of those whom I don't recognize by face.)

Thus, my survey. It's not like I watch a LOT of TV, except on certain channels. But I have only ever seen any of these commercials play during actual hockey games, which seems really stupid to me because, hello? We're already watching, NHL.

It has certainly been remarked that at least one of the things that hurts the NHL (marketing-wise) is the lack of recognizable, compelling personalities in the sport. And it's kind of a vicious cycle, too. Right now, though, the NHL really does have any number of guys who are exciting to watch. They play the game very well, and they are personable, too. The NHL has practically been wetting itself over the debut of Crosby and Ovechkin, "the future of hockey", because both are personable, willing to be in the spotlight, aren't jerks, and they are unusually talented and flashy and fun to watch.

These commercials *feel* to me like the first step towards *creating* identifiable personalities within the sport. But unless the commercials are actually getting airplay outside of hockey games... how is it going to do any good?


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 26th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
I have never seen them on TV :/ But then again, I don't watch a lot of English Canadian TV so maybe they are airing quite often and I just don't know. Personally, I love them all :)) I think they are very different from any marketing the NHL ever had and definitely a step up.

Anyways, they should air more often and everywhere. Also, they should make versions for Quebec ;) The attendance and popularity of hockey has never been has high here as right now. NHL, minors, Pee-Wees, all the games are always booked tightly.

P.S. Your two first links are the same :)
Feb. 26th, 2007 08:38 pm (UTC)
So they were! Thanks for letting me know; second link fixed now. :)

I'm surprised to hear that *someone* at least didn't make versions for Quebec -- even if it were only to the extent of subtitling them!

Then again, it sort of fits in with what I was saying, which is that honestly, Canadian hockey broadcasts, or Quebecois broadcasts, aren't where these commercials "need" to run. They're just preaching to the choir, there. (However, I'd agree that the commercials are kind of cute and charming, and for hockey fans are a nice "reward", and in that sense there's no reason they *shouldn't* run during hockey broadcasts; it's just, they ought to be running elsewhere as well. You'd think.)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )