While watching a recent NY Rangers vs. NJ Devils Stanley Cup playoff game (by the way, congrats to the L.A. Kings), the NHL ran a long “spot” promoting their most recent marketing effort, “Day With the Cup™” . Sponsored by Discover, fans had to submit why they deserved to spend a day with the Cup, with the top 3 selected by Facebook fan voting. The prize included not only spending a day in your community with the Cup, but also attending and having it your day shown during one of the playoff games.
The winner was Noah Doran, a 10 year old youth hockey player from upstate NY who heartwarmingly wrote about how hockey was important to him and his dad, currently stationed in Afghanistan. As the winner, Noah got to share the day with his family, friends, and youth hockey team .
So why is this so unique to me? Many sports teams and leagues have leveraged fans’ passions with experiential giveaways, right? But almost exclusively they leverage the athletes or teams themselves (Want to play golf with Tiger Woods? ) But with an inanimate object? A trophy?
Yup. The NHL knows what they have – the most recognizable and well known “prize” in sports. Despite professional hockey’s lack of popularity compared to the other big 3 sports, the league knows how everyone involved in the sport feels about the Stanley Cup. And they’ve leveraged it well, featuring the person who’s sole job is to be with the Cup at all times, and the Cup’s travels all around the world as the winning team’s players get to take it to their home, wherever in the world that may be.
Lesson learned – know your target, and expand your view of who/what they’re passionate about to motivate them.