Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Short fuse on Long Island

If I were the New York Islanders, I'd be mad too. Their biggest accomplishment this season is snapping the Maple Leafs' winning streak. In overtime. Otherwise, there's nothing really special going on in Long Island. Their record is okay. They've had their share of injuries already. They lost a player to a suspension (would you call it "lewd behaviour" or just the suggestion thereof?). And, they got subtly jabbed again on 30 Rock. Iit's not easy being the New York Islanders. Sometimes you have to resort to desperate measures.

I'm not the first person to discuss this ad, nor will I be the last. There are some great comments being posted about it over at All Habs that are worth a read.
This ad couldn't be more obvious in targeting the Canadiens' fans, rather than the team. This ad could have easily featured a picture of many other things: just a Canadiens logo or jersey, a moment from a previous game between the two teams, a player (maybe former NY Ranger Scott Gomez, or rookie-spearing Mike Cammalleri), or a sea of enthusiastic Isles fans (if that exists). Instead, they chose a picture of three youngish male Habs fans in jerseys, with wigs and scruffy facial hair. The majority of people who see this splash page, even if they're sitting in bed with their laptop, will probably think these guys look a little obnoxious. Even the placement of the Great Orange Circle Of No allows us to see all of their faces.

It's just like a negative political campaign, the kind we often see in the United States (for basically any sort of election). I guess it makes sense that in sports, you'd want to cheer for the team playing against a team that you don't like. (Isn't that why everyone who isn't a Yankees fan wants the Texas Rangers to beat the Yankees? ...ugh, no more baseball talk.) However, it seems that the main reason for making the Canadiens the enemy is because of their fans. Which makes sense, I guess, since Habs fans have a bad reputation, but what's the use in disliking a team if you won't boo their players?

Then there's the oh-so-original slogan, "No Habs No". Yeah, they're the first ones to come up with that. What's next, are they going to run an ad campaign with a picture of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes wearing an Islanders shirt and peeing on a Habs logo? That would be a breakthrough in advertising. They'd probably have to hire a fancy ad agency all the way in Manhattan to come up with that one.

Under the world's snappiest slogan reads "Show the Canadiens that this is Islanders country." Is it just me, or does that sound a little creepy? It's the kind of thing I'd expect to hear if I was in some type of backwoods swampy area, and I accidentally walked on some creepy old man's lawn, and he's sitting on his decrepit porch wearing beaten-up overalls, chewing tobacco, and holding a shotgun. "You best git away, Canadiens girlie! We don't want yer kind. This here's ISLANDERS COUNTREH." And as I try to run away as fast as my little legs will take me, I swear I hear yodeling and banjos. "But this is New York! The Great Gatsby took place here! I don't understand why they talk like this! And I like John Tavares!" I'd think to myself as I ran for my life.

A rivalry is a great way to sell tickets. But I think the Islanders marketing team might be reaching a little far with this one. Unless, of course, they're trying to rile up Habs fans, hoping that more of us come out of the woodwork. After all, a seat filled is a seat filled. Whether it's filled by a mullet-wigged Habs fan or a banjo-playing Isles fan shouldn't really matter.


  1. Hum. I saw that and frankly, it just made me laugh. I think they're just trying to sell tickets, and the message to their fans is "if you don't buy tickets, our arena is going to be full of filthy habs fans". And even if that wasn't enough to drive tons of Isles fans into the arena, there's also a chance that this ad could actually attract more habs fans than usual...

    It's not the greatest ad ever for sure but I find this pretty benign. In the same spirit, but much more funny (in my mind) was the Bruins ad directed at Flyers fans last spring: “Never, ever date a Flyers fan. Even if she shaves her moustache.”

  2. There's nothing they could put on their flash ad that would make me shell out the money to go watch the game in the hell hole that is Long Island. Maybe if it was Manhattan (because there's actually stuff to do) but definitely NOT Long Island. But then again, I wouldn't expect very creative or innovative advertising from them. It's not like they have any real fans of their own to appeal to.

  3. Greg, I agree. Although the depiction of the Flyers as girly-men and their fans as manly women doesn't really make sense.

    Cokeaddict: Ouch.
    Maybe they should appeal to people who live in Long Island. Somehow, I doubt that their market research would give them "Habs fans are annoying".


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