Bauer’s low latency approach to its ‘Own The Moment’ hockey campaign, saw a marketing team flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances – the NHL lockout – and rapidly replace pros for amateurs in its 2012/13 season creative.
Equipment maker Bauer Performance Sports Ltd,a long with ad agency Olsen, showed shrewd intelligence and adaptability to shift its strategy on the fly as ice hockey events destroyed hockey brand and NHL sponsor marketing plans. The company’s long planned campaign as adapted as the lockout news story evolved and the work replaced the pro campaign’s footage with shots of amateurs.
Originally the creative in ‘Own The Moment’ featured professionals alongside amateurs and maximise hockey engagement by rolling out at the start off the NHL season.
During the summer the company had originally shot many hours of pro player footage – both with action skating scenes at an ice rink in Atlantic City and off-ice activity filmed at a ballroom transformed into a locker room.
The marketing teams were at the final stages of readying the work to debut for the NHL’s mid-October season opener when it became clear the lockout would ensure the 20 players involved in the campaign would never play that first season opener and would remain idle because of the blackout.
So, with the stick, skate and hockey gear maker on the verge of launching its first major brand campaign in 17 years, Bauer used the lockout as an opportunity to switch its tactics and adapted its campaign to refocus on those hockey players traditionally not in the spotlight.
The emotional approach and core focus of the campaign message remained the same. It revolved around the idea that hockey is defined by moments and that hockey players are defined by what they do with those moments: moments to better themselves, moments to come together as a team, moments to shine.
The takeaway being that Bauer has been helping players make each and every moment of the game better and helping them #ownthemoment for over 85 years.
During the pre-campaign phase, Bauer invited consumers to submit videos of their ‘moments’ for a chance to be featured in the upcoming creative. In addition to website call to action, Bauer also leveraged social media for its campaign with an official #OWNTHEMOMENT hashtag on Twitter.
And, as hockey fans took to social media to vent their opinions and frustrations during the lockout, Bauer gave them another opportunity to connect and share their voices.
The media plan, as well as the creative, also had to adapt to the changing circumstances. Bauer initially withheld digital ad buys on NHL.com and NBCSports.com and had to readjust its plan for the axed New Year’s Day Winter Classic, but moved ahead with TV work that ranged from airing the TV spot on TSN during the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship and a regional TV ad buy.
The company then moved ahead with print and digital ads in hockey publications and also made out-of-home purchases in amateur arenas.”
‘At first you’re a little frustrated,’ admits Steve Jones, Bauer’s director of global marketing, recalling his emotions as the lockout date approached. Jones’ actually downplayed the NHL’s importance for the campaign at its launch and suggested that NHL content was ‘always meant to be a smaller part of the media mix’ and also added that Bauer actually grew market share during the last lockout.
‘Obviously from a viability standpoint, you want to have your products on the best players in the world skating up and down the ice during the NHL,” said Jones. ‘But that’s 600 players. There are six million kids playing. They need hockey equipment. And that’s accomplished by going to where the players live. “So we want to make sure our advertising and marketing message is seen repeatedly in arenas where kids go five, six, seven days a week into their local rink to play. It’s not all about the NHL.’
Some of the stats associated with the campaign suggest that Bauer’s strategy could well have been the right one. The campaign’s Facebook page has 229,000 ‘Likes’ while its Twitter feed boasts 43,400 ‘followers’.
A company like Bauer, which is focused on young hockey players buying equipment the early part of the season, the start of the winter is the most critical part of the year and perhaps it had little choice but to push ahead. So this may have been a factor behind its decision to press on with its adjusted campaign right from the get-go.
But it was also flexible enough to adapt its creative and use the lockout as an opportunity to refocus its work around those young people. Despite the changing news story and the NHL blackout, it still rolled out an integrated international campaign, but one spotlighting young amateur players and focusing on the numerous on- and off-ice moments that make hockey such a unique and special game for many kids.
‘It has been a challenge, but we actually looked at that challenge and made it a positive for us,’ said Jones. ‘The lockout gave us the opportunity to dial back some of the larger NHL properties, focusing more on grassroots and social media avenues. To put the spotlight on those younger kids who aren’t usually in the spotlight in marketing campaigns and let those kids talk about their moments.’
Bauer Campaign Website
Bauer TV Ad
Bauer Press Release