By Barry Janoff
March 27, 2012: The NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11, which means the tradition/superstition of players and fans not shaving until their team wins the Cup (or are eliminated from the playoffs) will again be in full bloom.
This year, the NHL team-based local charity Beard-a-Thon program, launched three years ago under the auspices of sports marketing agency Cenergy, East Aurora, N.Y., has its first national sponsor: Just For Men Mustache & Beard.
Local team efforts are being supported by marketers, as well, such as the New York Rangers Beard-a-Thon Presented by Philips Norelco.
The Beard-a-Thon program will be integrated into Just For Men’s advertising on NBC ’s NHL Stanley Cup playoffs coverage. Throughout the playoffs, all Just For Men marketing will be tagged with the Beard-A-Thon logo and URL; and 10-second, on-air billboards will rotate with the scores during live game coverage. The tag: "Grow One For The Team."
In addition, an online “Build-a-Beard” application will enable women and peach-fuzzed fans to participate, and the dedicated Web site allows visitors to post photos of their beards and other visitors to vote and pledge money for their favorite facial hair growth.
One example: "I'm doing this to raise money in honor of my father, who passed away in October, by not shaving until our Rangers playoff run is completed."
Over the last three years, pledged support from the families, fans, friends and business associates of beard-growing NHL players and other visitors to the Beard-a-Thon Web site has resulted in more than $1 million in donations to local charities such as the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Garden of Dreams (New York) and the Mario Lemieux Foundation (Pittsburgh), per Cenergy.
“We’re big fans of Beard-A-Thon and the charities it supports. It’s a great fit with our brand mission: to help men look good and do good in their communities.”
According to Ralph Marburger, Just For Men director of marketing, “We’re big fans of Beard-A-Thon and the charities it supports. It’s a great fit with our brand mission: to help men look good and do good in their communities.”
Beard-a-Thon is based on the hockey superstition that a roster of players without full beards cannot win the Stanley Cup.
“In this year alone, with the participation of Just For Men and the support of the NBC Sports Network, we expect to surpass our last three years’ total contributions," said John Cimperman, principal of Cenergy.