Skip delivers an at-home arena experience

The food delivery app made custom ads for the NHL teams still in the playoffs to become a bigger part of home viewing rituals.
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SkipTheDishes is looking to become a regular part of at-home sports viewing, and it is starting by helping NHL fans across Canada recreate the things they love about their still-closed hometown arenas.

The “Gear Up With Skip” campaign – developed internally by the brand – consists of three 15-second spots, each customized to spotlight the Montreal Canadiens, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks, the three Canadian teams remaining in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The ads are being targeted to hockey fans in each of those markets, where they can order their respective stadiums’ most popular dishes, like Dutton’s hot dogs from Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome, or pork back ribs from Vancouver’s Rogers Arena. While Skip had partnered with all six Canadian NHL teams for this in-arena food delivery initiative, the spots only focus on teams currently in the playoffs. When a Canadian team is eliminated, specialty in-arena food orders in those cities will be discontinued.

Cheryl Radisa, VP of marketing at SkipTheDishes, says the brand is trying to recreate the intersectional sports-viewing and food consumption occasion that would normally occur at an arena, or even a restaurant or sports bar, in people’s homes. Home viewing is way up for the re-started NHL season compared to past years, as pandemic safety precautions are still keeping fans away from bars and restaurants.

Radisa says hockey indexes “very high” for the brand’s customer base. Ordering food, including from Skip, is already part of the in-home viewing experience, but she says the band can drive that association even further.

“Having that food occasion as part of it, is really why we see that strong association and that brand opportunity for Skip,” she adds.  Radisa notes that the brand over-indexes among millennials, but also has “very strong penetration” among Gen Xer’s and Boomers.

Skip is further incentivizing hockey fans by offering the kinds of freebies and giveaways they might get during a visit to the arena. In the Montreal market, Pizza Pizza has created a menu item available through SkipTheDishes called the “All Dressed Habs Pizza Party Pack,” which includes a poutine and a Montreal Canadiens’ rally towel. For orders in Vancouver from Rogers Arena, customers will receive two Canucks’ rally towels. In Calgary, Skip orders from the Scotiabank Saddledome will include a Flames car flag.

“The more detail and the more things that we can provide that drive that enjoyment and drive that experience with the food that’s delivered with Skip, the more it’s going to become part of the ritual and part of how they experience the game, always,” Radisa says.

The campaign is being supported by a sizeable buy, handled by UM, with the company spending $2.9 million across TV and digital. The spots will air on Sportsnet, TVA and affiliated stations playing NHL games, as well as on and Sportsnet’s social channels. Skip is also re-running a spot that debuted at the outset of the season, featuring pitchman Jon Hamm watching the game at home throughout the playoffs on TV, paid digital and social media, along with in-rink ads during the games.