Long-time hockey sponsor and supporter Scotiabank launched a new ‘Hockey For All’ initiative at the start of the 2021/22 season with the aim of ensuring that ‘the game in Canada looks more like Canada’.
The initiative, developed with agency Rethink (with Soft Citizen directors Charlotte Fassler and Dani Girdwood – aka Similar but Different), calls for increased diversity and inclusion across the sport in Canada and is anchored around the bank’s pledge of $2m investment over the next 12 months to support the cause.
It is built around the bank’s belief that ‘Canada’s game should be for all Canadians’ and sees Scotiabank set out on a multi-phased mission to make hockey more diverse, more inclusive and more accessible for all.
The initiative is hubbed around a ‘change the game’ web hub at https://www.scotiabank.com/hockeyforall and spearheaded by a 60-second ‘Hockey for All’ short film which was posted across the bank’s online platforms on 12 October.
It features hockey players, coaches and fans representing different ethnicities, beliefs and orientations upend ignorant and bigoted critics. Those fronting the film include Paralympic gold medalist Bill Bridges, Olympic gold medalist Jayna Hefford and Harrison Browne (the sport’s first openly transgender pro) and other elite professional and everyday amateur hockey players.
The spot sees players skate around on the ice, whilst taunts from social media flash up on screen:
“Shouldn’t he be playing basketball?”
“Do they even have ice in China?”
“Women’s hockey is just boring.”
“Who wants to watch girls play?”
“First Nations kids are too lazy.”
“Keep hockey straight!”
“Go back to where you belong!”
At the close of the spot, PK Subban (one of the NHL’s most prominent Black stars) takes a pointed parting shot at the detractors: “Go back where we belong? This, this is where we belong,” he says, thumping a post-game interview table at the ad’s conclusion.
The hero video comes in bi-lingual versions, like most Canadian ads, and includes cut down versions and individual variants.
Supporting the website and hero launch video, other strands of the initiative include a series of micro-documentaries about athletes, coaches and community players overcoming adversity, as well as in-arena and in-branch signage shot by Chicanx New York Times photojournalist Roy Baizan.
The campaign follows on from recent Angus Reid research which found that two-thirds of Canadian players and coaches say that hockey culture is rife with bullying and lacks inclusivity.
This attitudinal problem, plus the fact that hockey equipment (such as skates, sticks and pads) have become increasingly expensive in recent years, mean that participation barriers are higher than higher.
The campaign seeks to reverse this trend by inspiring and supporting change, sparking equality conversations and providing funds supporting grassroots hockey organizations nationwide.
“Even though Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world, its beloved national sport hasn’t been,” explained Scotiabank VP Of Marketing John Rocco. “Discrimination is a fact of life for anyone who doesn’t fit the traditional hockey mold. The ultimate goal is “to make hockey more diverse, inclusive and accessible for all. To make Canada’s game look like Canada.”
The campaign was created for Scotiabank’s marketing team which included CMO Laura Curtis-Ferrera, Marketing VP John Rocco, Sponsorship VP Mike Tasevski, Director Of Hockey Sponsorship Lisa Ferkul, Senior Managers of Global Sponsorships Nick Peragine and Doug Johnson, Global Sponsorships Manager Matthew Dicker and Assistant Global Sponsorship Manager Alex Chiarlitti.
By a team at Rethink Canada which included CCO Aaron Starkman, ECD Mike Dubrick, Creative Directors Dhaval Bhatt, Joel Holtby and Natasha Michalowska, ACD (Writer) Robbie Percy, ACD (Art Director) Caroline Friesen, CSO Sean McDonald, Strategist Crystal Sales, Director of Broadcast Production Shelby Spigelman and Broadcast Producers Chantel Brinkman and Anna Tricinci.
The production company was Soft Citizen with Executive Producer Link York, with
Director Similar but Different, Director of Photography Chris Ripley, Line Producer Kelly King, plus offline editorial by Nimiopere Film Editorial with Editor Graham Chisholm, Assistant Editor Bryan Reuben and Offline Producer Julie Axell.
The post production house was The Vanity with VFX Artists Kaelem Cahill, Noah Matikainen and Dave McGhie, VFX Producer Katie Methot and grading by Wade Odlum of Alter Ego.
The media agency was PHD Canada, while PR was handled by H+K Strategies.
The ‘Hockey For All’ initiative follows Scotiabank’s 2020 nationwide feature-length ‘Hockey 24’ film about Canadians’ love for the sport.
It also follows on from Rethink’s hockey work for beer brand Molson which takes a distinctly lighter approach to the country’s love for the game such as its ‘Stanley Cup Batch’ and ‘Brewmboni’ initiatives from 2021.