Scotiabank Comic/Community ‘5th Season’ For NHL 2014/15

As the puck drops for the new NHL season, the league’s official bank Scotiabank launches a fun multi-channel campaign based around the idea that in Canada there are five seasons – nature’s four seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) and Hockey Season.


The Fifth Season campaign, which spans TV, social, digital, print, outdoor, experiences and events and media partnerships, kicked off on 8 October.


It will run right through the 2014/15 NHL season, has a focus on Canada’s communities, kids and values.


The Fifth Season revolves less around the NHL’s superstars, but focuses on its commitment to community hockey and the 5000 individual community and amateur hockey initiatives it supports In addition to its status as the official bank of the NHL and its sponsorship deals with all seven Canadian NHL franchises).


The idea behind the ‘Fifth Season’ is that for Canadians hockey season is not just the best season, but where the country’s children learn valuable lessons that reach far beyond the game itself: it’s when kids make lifelong friendships, when they learn about teamwork, supporting one another, dedication, commitment, respect, and how to have fun both on and off the ice.


Working with creative agency Bensimon Byrne (and PHD – which handled the media buy), the bank’s activation opened with a national TV spot called ‘Science Fair’.


The 60-second ad revolves around 12-year-old Kimmie making an impassioned case for the ‘Fifth Season’ at her school science fair – arguing that it is the best season in Canada for many reasons.



The shoot, which was helmed by American director Matt Smukler (known recently for his recent highly emotional Cheerios commercials), features moments of humour before settling on an earnest and emotive tone.


This TVC will be followed by a further spot featuring a boy tries to decide which number to wear this season. He poses a set of to his dad – such as how old he was when he first started playing hockey, and how many games his team lost last year (all of them) – before settling on the same number is father wore when he was a kid.


The TV work drives viewers online where the campaign’s community strand is hubbed and is initially being promoted through a YouTube film series called ‘Portraits Of Canada’s 5th Season’.


The idea behind the series is that the ‘Fifth Season gives us something more to cheer for’ and the films represent a set of inspiring stories that illustrate the difference hockey makes in the lives of Canadian people and communities.


This online film series, anchored around the sponsor’s YouTube channel, begins with ‘The Great Save’: a video about how residents of Warner (Alberta) save their local high school by transforming their sleepy town through hockey by creating one of Canada’s premiere girl’s hockey schools.



Like many nationwide Canadian campaigns, the creative comes in dual language versions in English and French – such as this French version of The Great Save



Another episode, ‘The Warrior Workout’, sees coach Mikko Makela put the Warner Warriors through their paces.



Further features will roll out through the season: next up is ‘Stars O The North’ which explores how even in the remotest parts of the country, hockey dreams give young Canadians something to aspire to.


Scotiabank is also using its social channels to engage the nation by encouraging hockey fans to join the Fifth Season conversation and show why its Canada best season by uploading and sharing their own favourite hockey thoughts, moments and pics.


In terms of incentivisation, those who contribute their favourite parts of the ‘Fifth Season’ are entered into a competition to win a pair of NHL tickets.


The NHL sponsor has also created the ‘Scotiabank Community Locker Room’ – where fans can engage with the brand, hobnob with NHL alumni and post photos online using #The5thSeason.


Elsewhere in the social space, Scotiabank also continues to run its youth-focused, community ‘Hockey Club’ programme primarily through its Facebook page (see https://www.facebook.com/ScotiaHockeyClub) which currently boasts 245,915 Likes).


The NHL’s banking sponsor is also running product-related tie-ins to the Fifth Season campaign.


For example, its Scotiabank NHL debit card (the official debit card of the NHL) aims to also help fans get closer to the game by enabling them to earn points with every purchase towards NHL tickets, prizes and apparel.


In the physical world, Scotiabank is also acting as the presenting sponsor of the inaugural Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour.


This road show style campaign offers Canadians in 25 communities across the nation a chance to experience a free outdoor hockey festival, including a scheduled NHL game viewing party (hosted by Ron MacLean from the mobile Sportsnet Mobile Studio), plus interactive games, appearances by NHL alumni and family entertainment.


The first event of the season is on Sunday 11 October in London (Ontario).


This is part of the bank’s six-year sponsorship deal with Rogers Communications which gives Scotiabank naming rights for ‘Wednesday Night Hockey’ and makes it a presenting sponsor of ‘Sunday Night Hockey’ and a sponsor of ‘Hockey Night in Canada’.


This deal follows the announcement late last year that the NHL and Rogers had signed a new 12-year deal giving media giant Rogers the rights to all national games in Canada.


And since June 2014 the broadcaster has been running a slow burning campaign to promote this deal and its upcoming NHL coverage across its media properties called ‘NHL On Rogers’


This has been spearheaded by powerful and atmospheric TV ads, accompanied by emotional music, exploring the NHL’s history through slow-motion shots of fans and action.


Such as ‘Greatness’







and ‘Just A Game’



The Rogers’ ads claim that hockey is ‘a game that means everything … that defines a culture’.




Does this slightly comic and community-led campaign signify a genuinely fresh approach to hockey activation in Canada?


Scotiabank certainly think so.


In terms of the background to the Fifth Season initiative, Scotiabank’s senior vice-president of marketing Clinton Braganza says that the bank’s own off-season survey-led research showed  89% of Canadians are involved in some way in hockey (whether playing, coaching or watching) and that its main objective was to celebrate community hockey and its effect on Canada’s culture.


This is a marked difference from so much hockey activation which revolves around impactful shots of star players and crunching action.


Plus, with the astonishing number of NHL strikes in recent years, it certainly seems sensible to build activation around grass roots and community hockey which will continues even when the millionaire players and billionaire owners are arguing about how to divide up the cash.


‘When you’re dealing with Canada and hockey, it means so much to us as Canadians…you have to be real,’ says Braganza.


‘This entire program is about grassroots. And something that our research shows is that Canadians know Scotiabank supports at the community level, but we really have an opportunity to make sure, given all that we do, that we increase that awareness about our focus on community hockey.’


The bank hopes this is a hockey strategy that will ensure that it stands out from the crowd and genuinely cuts through.


And there is a lot of hockey marketing to cut through in Canada. A lot!


‘Sometimes advertisers are a little bit more dramatic and big in terms of their executions,’ continues Braganza.


‘We use humour in a very authentic and real way. It’s not a laugh-out-loud moment. It’s more of a smile.’


It is a matter of debate whether this campaign is quite as funny as the bank’s strategy intended and its marketers claim?


After all, there is plenty of the more usual emotional imagery and soaring music sso often seen in hockey work.


But the tone ensures the work does remain essentially authentic and sincere.


Will Scotiabank now apply this same survey-led strategy to its other sponsorships in the near future?


Could its work around marathons take a similar approach?


Marathons are, after all, the bank’s other major sports sponsorship space and it backs race events across most major Canadian cities including in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver and Ottawa.


Thus far the focus of this sponsorship strand has been the ‘Scotiabank Charity Challenge’ which helps raise money for local Canadian charities from coast to coast.



The other main sponsorship space for Scotiabank is the arts where it runs both its own branded and title events, as well as sponsoring a range of cultural programmes and properties.


These include the Scotiabank Giller Prize (for literary fiction), the Scotiabank Photography Awards and Festival, the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche (White Nights) Toronto contemporary art celebration from sundown to sunrise and it also sponsors the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.


Its other central arts initiative is its Bright Future programme which aims to inspire all Canadians to pursue their passions: ‘providing us with new perspectives and experiences that enrich our lives’.





Scotiabank 5th Season Website



Scotiabank Website



Scotiabank YouTube



Scotiabank Google+



Scotiabank Facebook



Scotiabank Twitter



Scotiabank Arts



Bensimon Byrne Website



PHD Canada



Rogers Communications Website




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