Traditional vs. “No Ad” Sports Campaigns

Anniversary campaigns are a significant part of an organization’s growth and success, especially in professional sports. Anniversaries are a milestone that symbolize a time of achievement, seniority in a league, and, let’s face it, a really good time to celebrate.

Usually, sports organizations go the traditional route – a new color or design added to jerseys, an updated anniversary logo, extra fan events and the years-in-existence plastered all over the home stadium. But is this strategy reaching social security status, aka, is it getting kind of old?

Two National Hockey League (NHL) teams provide great examples. The Los Angeles Kings are beginning their 50th anniversary campaign. Updated, redesigned and highly-priced jerseys have been released, a new logo has been unveiled, an opening night ceremony has been planned, and the hashtag #LAKings50 is in full use on their social media accounts.

LA Kings Jersey
Source: http://lakingsinsider.com/2016/10/11/opening-night-50th-anniversary-details-revealed/

However, the Arizona Coyotes have a different strategy as they approach their 20th anniversary: it’s what the Phoenix Business Journal likes to call a “no ad campaign.” The Coyotes released this letter on their Twitter and Facebook pages, apologizing for their past campaigns and announcing they’d be eliminating the use of “cheesy” slogans. Instead, “Coyotes 2.0” wants their advertisements and overall marketing strategy to be player-focused. They are pushing towards a “show, not tell” approach by explaining that they don’t want to just say it’s “Hockey the Hard Way,” they’re going to show you.

“Maybe it’s because of the 20 years or the work we’ve done over the last three years, but we feel like it’s time to let the team do the talking,” said Arizona Coyotes’ CEO and team president Anthony LeBlanc.

Source: https://twitter.com/ArizonaCoyotes/status/782954633958268928

Both the Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes are motivated by their team’s performance to produce their anniversary campaigns. For example, the Los Angeles Kings have won two Stanley Cups in the last six years and were in the playoffs last season. Their traditional, sales-focused campaign seems appropriate considering their current status in the league.

The Arizona Coyotes haven’t made the playoffs since 2010. For the Coyotes, there’s not much to lose, therefore anything to change up their current marketing and promotional strategies can potentially be beneficial.

The Coyotes “no campaign” campaign strategy doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after some explaining — but the real question is if it will work. And from their model, time will only tell as the season progresses towards playoffs next year.

Written by Ashley Ingber, Assistant Account Executive

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