Bridgestone’s NHL Winter Classic ‘Conquer The Cold’

Bridgestone, the official tire of the NHL and the NHLPA, has held the title sponsorship of the NHL’s Winter Classic for the last five years and this year it leveraged the game through its ‘Conquer The Cold’ campaign.


Bridgestone’s ‘Conquer The Cold’ initiative, which aims to educate consumers about the importance of winter tires, is running through the current NHL season and offers consumers a chance to win a range of related prizes from free winter tires, to NHL gear, Stanley Cup tickets and more.


Consumers considering buying winter tires can participate and win a free set of Bridgestone Blizzak tires simply visiting the campaign website at ConquerTheCold.com and correctly guessing the temperature when the puck drops to start the first period of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.


Consumers who had already bought a set of Blizzak winter tires between 15 October and 30 November were also given an opportunity to win a full reimbursement by going online and guessing the temperature.


Up to 2,000 guaranteed winners were selected through a straight drawi.


Also at ConquerTheCold.com consumers also can enter a separate sweepstakes in which, if they correctly guess the temperature at puck drop, they will be entered in a drawing to win prizes including a trip for two to a game of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final or a trip for two to the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs, Colo.


The campaign was supported by press ads and outdoor work and further pushed via an in-mail promotion.


‘In order to engage our customers with the Conquer the Cold message in a fun and innovative manner, we are pleased to announce an exciting promotion in conjunction with the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic ,’ explains Philip Dobbs, Chief Marketing Officer for Bridgestone Americas.


Other aspects of the title sponsor’s activation saw its logo worked into the game branding itself via the shield style logo – thus ensuring the tire company appeared on all official assets.


This year’s game saw an incredibly consistent and coherent approach to branding – both on TV, across the media and around the stadium in Ann Abor.


The official game/sponsor logo branding appeared on everything from straightforward signage, to coffee cups, seats cushions, travel and transport assets and even speakers – plus on centre ice of course.


Bridgestone primarily uses the game as an event to showcase its winter tire technology.


‘The Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic is our marquis event in our NHL partnership and we look forward to showcasing Bridgestone technology to the millions of hockey fans leading up to the game,’ said a company spokesperson.




The last five Winter Classics make up five of the six most-watched regular season NHL games in the past 37 years – so the event is certainly something of a success story for the league.


And this year’s game set records both for live spectators and TV viewers.


The 2014 Winter Classic was played on New Year’s Day in the huge Michigan University football stadium in Ann Arbor. Nicknames the Big House, an impressive 105,491 chilly but happy hockey fans watched the Detroit Red Wings take on the Toronto Maple Leafs in this year’s big outdoor event live.


That’s a world record for a hockey crowd.


The game’s reach was further boosted with a record setting combined US and Canadian TV audience (across NBC, CBS and RDS) of 8.23 million viewers.


Another reason for the sponsors to smile.


The Winter Classic was everywhere in Canada and the US on New Year’s Day and the 2014 game broke records and generated hype that proved it has genuinely become a blockbuster annual event.


In-game, in-stadium activation was fairly limited as the arena was kept fairly logo free – although the Verizon and GEICO seat covers (which also carried Bridgestone’s composite event logo) were prominent.


But the NHL and its commercial partners built a huge sponsor activation area beside Michigan Stadium, called Spectator Plaza, which enabled official partners to engage fans.


A range of activations took place in the plaza – from York Heating & Air Conditioning’s puck shooting contests and hand-heating packs, to Molson Canadian and Coors Lite’s beer garden, to a branded concert stage and the clever, headache curing Advil Recovery Tent (a useful haven to help those still suffering the effects of New Year’s Eve). Advil also bought in-game telecast ‘recovery moments’ identity sponsorship spots.





Conquer The Cold Website



Bridgestone Website



NHL Winter Classic Website



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