Big events attract big sponsors. As the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships reach the penultimate moment, it’s worth reviewing how some of Canada’s biggest players get the most “puck”for their marketing buck.
Let’s stick with the big four: Telus, Imperial Oil, Nike & RBC.
Nike’s campaign is the most conceptual, with a strong social media a component. Anchored by a expertly crafted 30-sec spot, Pressure is Power is a dedicated Facebook page where fans can send Team Canada a personal message in hopes it is inspiring enough to appear live on TSN broadcast.
RATING: Love the social strength – even rinkboards are hashtags – but is Pressure is Power concept too “insider” to comprehend?
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence, Telus developed a fully integrated mobile web app, encouraging fans to build their own Ultimate Team Canada Starting 6 and raise money to help local youth play hockey. Each entry translated into a donation by Telus to the HC Foundation. Sharing your Starting 6 on Facebook/Twitter enabled the donation to be personalized.
RATING: Imagining an “ultimate” Team Canada is cool. The donation aspect is warm.
Royal Bank’s sponsorship was also grounded in a grassroots initiative, partnering with Alberta Hockey. The World Hockey Tour visited 14 communities across Alberta featuring a 4-on-4 Novice/Atom tournament where players sported jerseys of World Junior competing teams, visited a replica Team Canada locker room and partook of many giveaways and prizes.
RATING: Strong event/connection to existing brand position. Less national reach.
Imperial Oil continued its long history of supporting hockey in Canada  with the re-introduction of Hockey Canada branded Gift Cards, available exclusively at Esso stations. A 30 sec spot runs on TSN throughout the tournament.
RATING: Weak. No social component. Perhaps saving for Esso Minor Hockey Week, launching in January, in Calgary?
Who do you think is winning the tournament?