Reebok’s #DressForBattle Fan Faceoff Social/Outdoor NHL Winter Classic Campaign

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NHL kit partner Reebok activated around the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic with #DressForBattle – an integrated campaign that saw rival fans to battle it out and which linked social media to the at-event experience.


The 2016 NHL Winter Classic saw archrivals Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens (two of the NHL’s ‘Original Six’ clubs) take to the outdoor ice at Massachusetts’ giant Gillette Stadium.


This annual NHL event, which started in 2008, aims to return to ice hockey’s outdoor roots and recapture some of its original pond-hockey camaraderie (indeed, the Bruins’ own social media promotion around the 2016 event was built around the hashtag #BackOutdoors which itself saw 184 content pieces spread across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – which generated a total of 500,000 likes and retweets).


Building hype and excitement around the annual New Year’s Day outdoor game, the core of the adidas-owned apparel brand’s initiative was the social #DressForBattle game face competition.


This saw Reebok Hockey ask fans to compete in a team pride style contest by posting their personally images of support on either Twitter or Instagram.



When fans posted a photo with the campaign hashtag it was automatically uploaded on the microsite – which invites viewers to ‘Suit up + Stare Down. Skates Optional’.


Participation was not only incentivised by the chance to win game-related Reebok prizes, but also saw winning submissions appear on digital billboards or metro screens in Boston and Montreal in a campaign strand that linked social to outdoor and amplified the campaign in a distinctly personal way.



Reebok Hockey promoted the campaign through its own social platforms, via local onsite activations both pre- and during game day and the campaign also featured famous fans of either team (such as actor and famous Canadiens fan Jay Baruchel) who pushed the campaign to their followers via their own social media platforms


Fans attending the Winter Classic game itself were also able to take part in a series of events and experiences within the #DressforBattle campaign at Gillette Stadium itself.


It erected an on-site branded tent



where fans could try to psych out opponents with their game face social/physical photo booth (complete with special souvenir magnetic picture frame),



as well as tackle a hockey trivia quiz, meet brand ambassadors and try on-ice hockey experiences.



Of course, Reebok was also pushing its special edition Winter Classic apparel range too.



A further Winter Classic Reebok Hockey activation element included behind-the-scenes Snapchat coverage for those unable to make the game in person.



The initiative was developed with social media agency Campfire as well as with Reebok Hockey’s agency of record for social and PR MC Saatchi.


The Winter Classic campaign also linked neatly to the brand’s wider ‘Christmas Giveaway’ promotion.




We really like the way this initiative cleverly bridges social and physical, connects on- and off-site, and spans both the national audience, as well as local markets (with activations in the competing cities of Boston and Montreal).


Nevertheless the campaign comes at a time of change for Reebok Hockey.


The 2016 event came shortly after The New York Post reported that parent Adidas is looking to sell off the Reebok-CCM hockey division as it refocuses the Reebok brand around fitness.


Adidas has reportedly put its TaylorMade golf brand on the market and has already sold its Rockport shoe business.


From a league point of view, we love the idea behind the Winter Classic itself.


It not only takes the game back to its roots, but it also draws huge live crowds for a celebratory, one-off spectacle that now owns the USA’s New Years Day sports landscape and thus can command not just hockey fan attention but also the interest of casual sports fans.


Plus, of course, it typically takes place in a giant stadium not usually associated with hockey (the Gillette Stadium is better known as the home of the Super Bowl winning New England Patriots NFL team and holds 68,756 people).


The fans seems to agree – thus far a total of 413,548 spectators have attended the first seven NHL Winter Classic games.


The event itself (which this year also included the first-ever outdoor Scotiabank Women’s Classic between the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League and Les Canadiennes of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League) was also promoted via ‘The Road To the Winter Classic’ on EPIX and all its digital platforms



and by broadcaster NBC.


This year’s Winter Classic also saw a side campaign from the Montreal Canadiens 26-year-old defenseman and athlete ambassador PK Subban who promoted the team’s limited edition game sweaters to help raise money for his charity PK’s Helping Hand.


The Canadiens won 5-1.




Reebok ‘Dress For Battle’ Digital Hub:


Reebok Hockey Instagram:


Reebok Twitter:


Reebok Facebook:




NHL Winter Classic:




MC Saatchi:

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