Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, January 24, 2021

stars are out
Just finished watching this year’s NHL All-Star Game, a typical scorefest resulting in the West winning 12-9.

I enjoyed all the dipsy-doodle offense that was on display; that’s the point of this showcase, after all. And I’m sure the AP’s Jim Litke will be glad to know that I had no trouble at all finding Versus on my cable lineup.

Even though Litke’s stale diatribe is mostly crapola (his chief beef is that the game was somehow mis-scheduled opposite “American Idol” — as apples and oranges as it gets when talking about any sporting event versus mass-appeal programming), there’s no denying that hockey could use an overhaul in its marketing basics, from the inside out.

Attendance is down, TV ratings are abysmal and the league still can’t seem to figure out how to market its assets to non-core fans. And it’s not only the owners. The players, too, have paid scant attention to the sport’s marketing woes.

“It’s a bit like pulling teeth during the season,” said Calgary defenseman Andrew Ference, one of half-a-dozen player business representatives who are in Dallas to kick around some marketing ideas. “We have to convince guys that it’s worth doing.”

But really, the NHL isn’t unique in this. Plenty of companies don’t understand the importance of marketing in keeping the machine humming and thriving. The idea that hard work that’s focused on the core mission is enough to garner attention makes sense, but doesn’t come off in practical appplication.

Still, I’ve trashed the league before about its inept marketing. Between continual preaching to the choir and adherence to stale creative themes, the NHL desperately needs an infusion of fresh promotional ideas.

Not to worry, because everyone’s favorite blogging sports owner has some pointers:

“One of the biggest challenges the NHL has is that there isn’t one player that we all know is going to be quotable, and the media is going to run with and pay too much attention to,” [Mark Cuban] wrote in his blog. Cuban would love to see Crosby or one of the sport’s other young guns show some flare and self-promotion on the ice.

Among his off-the-cuff suggestions: pull out a cap after scoring a hat trick and put it on in front of the opposing goalie. “Yeah, there would be some gloves dropped, but if it happened a second time, it would be all over the national news and sports fans across the country just might be curious enough to turn on the TV to see what would happen next.”

Cuban acknowledges that the “purists” would argue that the game is enough to sell the product. His reply: “Yeah, right.”

Trash-talking is the answer, then. But who to deliver it? Heading into the start of this season, there was some speculation/hope that Boston Bruins rookie Phil Kessel would be that guy, a hockey version of Terrell Owens. Kessel’s general lack of production, plus his unfortunate cancer diagnosis, put the kibosh on that. The nice-guy league still awaits its resident bad boy…

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/24/2007 11:48:46 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., TV, Hockey | Permalink | Feedback (2)


I’ve seen promotions for Dunkin’ Donuts White Hot Chocolate for weeks now. Other than noting the uniqueness of the product, I didn’t think much of it.

But tonight, after seeing a TV commercial for it, it suddenly hit me: “White Hot Chocolate” is an oddly-structured phrase. While you can comfortably assume it describes the flavor of the chocolaty beverage, the sequence of “white hot” could give you pause.

Not to worry, though. Just as white chocolate isn’t really chocolate at all, neither is this drink served up truly white hot.

At least, let’s hope not. Otherwise, Dunkin’ will have a lawsuit coming that would make the McDonald’s scalding coffee case look like a cakewalk.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/24/2007 10:21:00 PM
Category: Food, Science, Wordsmithing | Permalink | Feedback