Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Will History Be Made or Will Amazing Happen? The Battle of Playoff Commericals

The "History will be made" campaign, a collaborative effort between NHL, NBC Sports, Versus and ad agency Y&R, perfectly captures the intensity and excitement of the playoffs. The 2011 NHL playoffs began with a bang--reigniting my love for the sport--as four out of the eight round one match ups were decided in Game 7 and three highly anticipated teams (Canucks, Bruins & Sharks) won their series in sudden death OT. Through a powerful montage, the TV spots relive pivotal playoff moments, capturing images and sounds of victory beautifully in sync with heart-tugging instrumental music. Every day until the Stanley Cup final, NHL will be releasing a new version of the "History will be made" commercials featuring a hockey highlight from the night before, demonstrating NHL's marketing sophistication in creating real-time content. My favorite has to be Nathan Horton's double OT goal against the Canadiens in Game 7 that advanced the Bruins to the second round:
There are obvious similarities between NHL's "History will be made" campaign and the NBA playoffs "Where amazing happens" campaign created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, like the layer of crowd noise, reliving old sports moments and fading to black. You can see the similarities in the spot above and the one below: 
However, the sentiment of "History" is different than "Amazing." Amazing speaks to a surprise, a moment that is temporary and quick, while History is forever. History has the ability to uplift Detroit, the Hockey Town of America, in one of its worst recessions. History has the ability to bring pride back to the Blackhawks in Chicago after almost a half century of not winning the Stanley Cup. There is only one trophy passed down from champion to champion, and the NHL successfully reminds its fans of the unique legacy that is winning the Lord Stanley's Cup.

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