Molson makes the sacrifice

The brand kicked off its hockey program last night, with a focus on TV, digital and social, and will look to ramp up its activity leading up to and during the Sochi Olympic Winter Games.

With the puck officially dropped on the 2013/2014 NHL regular season, Molson Canadian is starting to roll out its latest hockey program, the “Anything for Hockey” campaign.

The brand is looking to engage in a season-long conversation with avid hockey fans from LDA to 35 who will do whatever it takes not to miss a moment of the season’s action. Working with creative agency Rethink and media agency MEC, it launched its first TV spot, called “The Hockey Sacrifice,” on CBC during the last night’s game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens.

The spot, which will also run on sports specialty channels like TSN and Sportsnet, features a hockey fan who sacrifices an antique grandfather clock he planned to pass down to his son in return for tickets to an NHL game.

Molson’s TV buy will be supported by a heavier than usual investment in digital and social, with ads appearing on the digital properties for CBC, TSN and Sportsnet, as well as on Facebook and Twitter conversation will be centered around the hashtag #AnythingforHockey, as the brand encourages fans to submit ideas and images about what they’d sacrifice for hockey.

The brand will also be activating in-arena, leveraging its sponsorships of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers, and will begin rolling out NHL and team-themed cans and bottles of Molson Canadian and Coors Light in-store.

Chris Blackburn, brand manager, Molson Canadian, says that Molson’s spend on its NHL program is slightly bigger this year, given that there’s no lockout to contend with, but adds that it’s fairly consistent with spends for previous years.

He says that the hockey program is one of the key pillars for the brand. Noting the upcoming Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will also be an important part of Molson’s plans this year, he says that the brand will look for ways to increase its activity and dial into Canadians’ national pride and love for hockey both in the lead-up to and during the Games. He adds that the playoffs will also be a period of heavier activity for Molson, as they were last season when the brand rolled out its “This is Our Time” campaign during the playoffs.

Blackburn says Molson is ramping up its digital and social presence for this season because the conversation around hockey is increasingly shifting to these spheres as they offer fans new opportunities to engage with each other and have their say about the sport.

Molson’s hockey program will roll out in multiple waves and be in market until the end of the hockey season.