By Barry Janoff
October 31, 2013: With Thanksgiving Day just weeks away, the NHL is unveiling a campaign intended to attract fans, friends and on-ice foes alike.
A multi-platform effort from the league, in partnership with NBC Sports Group, will support the 2013 Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown game, on Friday, Nov. 29, on NBC, which will feature the New York Rangers visiting the Boston Bruins.
The campaign, breaking this week, is anchored by three 30-second TV ads, two 15-second commercials and a two-minute extended version that will run across the broadcast, digital and social media platforms of the NBC Sports Group and NHL. (See links below.)
The spots were directed by Bobby Farrelly, who with brother Peter, has helmed such movies as Dumb and Dumber, There's Something About Mary, Shallow Hal, Kingpin and Dumb and Dumber To (being filmed for release in 2014).
The TV campaign was shot in Boston and features former NHL Cam Neely (Bruins) and Mike Richter (Rangers) as well as actors from New York and Boston. The ex-NHLers show up at the houses of fans, Thanksgiving goodies in hand, to entice people to watch the Discover Thanksgiving Showdownelly
"I'm a hockey nut, so when the NHL and NBC approached me to direct the commercial and said it would feature Cam Neely and Mike Richter, I was flattered," Farrelly said in a statement. "It was a pleasure to work with two hockey greats to promote a game featuring two legendary teams, including my beloved Bruins."
The campaign also includes digital and social media platforms of the NBC Sports Group and NHL, including NHL Network, NHL.com, in-arena, digital and social media. NHL.com and NHL Social will show behind-the-scenes content across social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (with the official hashtag #thanksgivingshowdown).
Neely, Richter and a to-be-announced musical performer will ride aboard the Discover/NHL "Frozen Fall Fun" float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, Nov. 28.
"Getting into debates with extended family members during the holidays — especially among passionate sports fans – is an insight about Thanksgiving that everyone can relate to," Brian Jennings, CMO for the NHL, said in a statement. "Inserting the intensity of the Bruins-Rangers rivalry into the spirit of a family Thanksgiving was irresistible. It reinforces the game's positioning as a holiday and family event. And with Bobby Farrelly's ties to Boston, his love of the Bruins and his track record as a director of hit comedies, he brought a lot to developing the concept and comedy."
According to Bill Bergofin, svp-marketing for the NBC Sports Group, "The goal is to celebrate the holiday, and the historic rivalry between the Bruins-Rangers. The campaign is a light hearted look at a typical Thanksgiving dinner, in the home of a passionate NHL family. Bobby Farrelly’s sense of humor and his love of the Boston Bruins, made him the perfect director for this project."
See "Testy" here