My Alexander Ovechkin

The NHL’s current “My NHL” campaign could use some work in my opinion.  I’ve called it “My Faceless NHL” as they use actors in the commercials and not real players.

Marketing the game of hockey is great, but the NHL product isn’t just hockey, and it’s not generic-looking hockey players in alternating color jerseys with the NHL logo on it.  The product comes from 30 NHL teams comprised of the best players in the world.  It’s as though the NHL is paranoid about putting the players first, giving them too much marketing power, but the players and the plays these players make is what makes the game compelling.

There does seem to be an exception to this rule once or twice a generation.  Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and currently Sidney Crosby.  Instead of making exceptions, simply diversify.  Don’t pick another two or three players, pick ten, pick more.  Simply pick the best plays and focus in on that, they’re frequently made by the best players anyway.

The “My NHL” campaign isn’t horrible.  On Center Ice I’ve seen many (if not most or all) teams have a “My [team name]” campaign where they mix in real clips.  Still, it’s not a smooth transition from the dark, movie-style scripted clips to the bright, real plays.

The new “My Stanley Cup” spots are much better.  Real players, real plays.  But they’re just snippets of plays here and there and with dramatic looks from a handful of players.  While the jerseys may be real, and the players may be real, you don’t learn who any of them are.  The NHL doesn’t have to make lessons, but focusing in on one play at a time will allow people to actually become familiar with the league’s players.  (Part 1 and Part 2 of “My Stanley Cup”)

What the NHL could do next season is make a series of commercials highlighting some of its stars and future stars.  Don’t just give us Crosby, but Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Brad Boyes, Jussi Jokinen, Dion Phaneuf and Henrik Lundqvist.  Re-introduce us to young players like Eric Staal, Ilya Kovalchuk and Jason Spezza.  Remind us how good Jaromir Jagr, Joe Thornton and Teemu Selanne are.

So I made one.  Introducing My Alexander Ovechkin:

320x240 wmv 1.1mb
(Please don’t directly link to the wmv)

A lot of commercials use real plays, but few focus in on one.  Joseph Jaffe took a Tiger Woods shot, and with little editing he turned it into a 30-second and 60-second spot.  It was simple and it worked.  It focused on Tiger’s Nike golf ball and had all the drama of a real play, because it was one.

My Alexander Ovechkin is a short, 15-second spot.  Hockey isn’t going to have long, drawn-out pauses like golf or some other sports.  It’s fast-paced, action-packed and it’ll be rare one play, even with replay, will take more than 15 seconds.

There’s nothing wrong with a 15-second spot.  This gives the NHL, and networks that show NHL games, the opportunity to use these as short fillers or use two in a row or sandwich another commercial or two in between to stay true to the 30-second spot.

How this spot was made:
I edited the live audio over the video replay from the FSN Arizona feed of Ovechkin’s 32nd goal against the Coyotes on Jan 16, 2006.  Thanks to Ed from for the original video.  I then took a couple of screens from the original “My NHL” commercials to figure out what font they were using.  With some help of WhatTheFont, I found Eurostile Extended as a very close match and was able to make the “My NHL” (logo from screen and the “My Alexander Ovechkin” screen.  I tried to stay true to styling and that’s about it.

Could more be done with it?  Sure.  It’s a bit of a hard start, but I just wanted to get the concept out there.

There are plenty of other plays this could be done with too.  A couple of shootout goals come to mind: one of Jussi Jokinen’s and Marek Malik’s between the legs shot.  Great saves aren’t out of the question either.

Posted by David M Singer on Apr 10, 2006 at 01:53 PM


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