I get the majority of my prime time commercial fix during my hour with "The Apprentice" every thursday night, so I was delighted to see that the NHL's new marketing campaign was one of the 30 second spots. I had heart about the campaign from the NHL's director of marketing at a kid's conference in Orlando a few months ago, and was excited to see how they would bring out the emotion of the game to appeal to a "new generation" on which the game apparently depends.
Horrible. I'm sure the overall campaign might get better, but the commercial I saw suffered from poor production values, and a strange attempt to associate the NHL with martial arts and Japan. It used words like "Warrior", "Hero", and featured an Asian woman wishing her hockey player well as he went into battle. I can just imagine that the NHL told the ad firm they wanted to be cool with kids, and since Hockey is not cool anywhere but Canada and Detroit, they tried to associate the sport into some kind of Kill Bill-Jet Li-Pokemon-Hello Kitty-Manga coolness.
Note to the NHL: Cut it out. I loved Kung Fu Hustle, and its fusion of broadway dance, and bugs bunny references mixed up with Kung-Fu. But people see right through this mix of hockey and Japancool. You wouldn't draw Cap'n Crunch as a manga character to be more modern or appealing to your kid target anymore than you should Steve Yzerman, so focus on what's great about hockey, not what's great about Ang Lee flicks.