Calling all ‘fan’atics

Judge not those who love too much.

Judge not those who love too much.

The latest campaign from Toronto-based The Score Television Network, called Sportism, depicts hardcore sports fans speaking out about feeling ostracized by ‘regular’ citizens for being overzealous.

One execution features a shirtless man wearing red and yellow body paint and holding a sign that says: ‘Don’t judge me by the colour of my skin!’ All campaign elements are tagged with an icon of a giant foam hand that says, ‘Stop Sportism,’ and drive traffic to the newly redesigned thescore.ca.

‘It really comes out of the brand idea of ‘home for the hardcore,” explains Judy John, SVP/CCO at Toronto-based Leo Burnett Canada. ‘We want to create a community for sports fans to feel at home and talk stats.’

The site features blogs, a fantasy draft and video clips, as well as a ‘Stop Sportism’ contest that invites hardcore fans to upload a video of themselves ‘ranting, raving or ridiculing’ for a chance to win $5,000. Visitors can view the entries at thescore.ca/sportism.

We asked Craig Redmond, VP/CD at Grey Vancouver, and Dave Haggith, director of communications at Toronto-based sports and entertainment marketing consultancy IMG Canada, to weigh in on whether this campaign got them revved up.

CONCEPT

Redmond: Relentlessly vilified for my 40-year Toronto Maple Leaf affliction, I am the target and I like most of this campaign.

Haggith: It does a great job of creating a cause that would appeal to the sports ‘fan’atic, a unique and passionate demographic! They have summed up the hardcore enthusiasm that this group takes great pride in, in an entertaining campaign that has great viral possibilities.

TV

Redmond: Hardcore fans lamenting the prejudice they endure makes for funny hyperbole, the one anomaly being the streaker. I associate streaking with exhibitionism, not sports fanaticism. But I especially liked the Viewer Warning moments. Who can’t giggle at ‘The male camel toe, grape-smuggling effects of Spandex’ as a demonstration of hi-def?

Haggith: The TV spots are terrific. They sum up the hardcore spots fan perfectly. A number of sports fans I showed the ads to headed straight for the website.

Print/OOH

Redmond: The print and outdoor felt like screen grabs from the TV. Disappointing. If you’re going to embrace an idea like

pseudo-racism, you really have to express in it as many divergent ways as creatively possible.

Haggith: The print campaign communicates the theme, and is also entertaining, but I didn’t feel as drawn to the website (the campaign’s ultimate goal) through the print as I did with the television.

Website

Redmond: Once I navigated through some of the content, I experienced the bigger idea of the hardcore fan. A guy hosting his own talk show to challenge the superficiality of most sports shows really speaks to the psyche of the hardcore sports fan. I am that guy. My name is Craig, and I’m a Leafaholic.

Haggith: Unfortunately, after the buildup through the ads, the website is a bit of a letdown. The concept for the site is strong and it functions fine, but considering the campaign’s main goal was to drive fans to the website to upload content, the content didn’t measure up to the expectations set.

The Score Television Network:

Craig Malanka, director of marketing

Leo Burnett:

Anthony Chelvanathan, AD; Steve Persico, copywriter; Morgan Kurchuk, creative group head; Dave Federico, creative group head; Judy John, CD; Jen Greck, account director

ARC Worldwide Canada:

Lynda Olesen, strategist; Jared Colautti, account supervisor/project manager; Felix Wardene, tech director; Shirley Ward Taggart, CD; Ian Kay, creative group head; Mark Nilsen, AD