While us hockey fans cannot wait for training camp to arrive in 10 to 14 days, one National Hockey League team appears to be helping themselves and perhaps the league get noticed. I'm talking about trying to steal some attention away from Major League Baseball's pennant races or the start of the college football season this Labor Day weekend or even the upcoming National Football League season set to begin less than a full week from now. Whether or not this effort pays off remains to be seen.
The Dallas Stars launched an interesting ad campaign last week called Come Into The Cold to help increase sales on season tickets for the upcoming 2007-2008 NHL season. They created some slogans put to use on billboards across the Metroplex aimed at taking a sarcastic jab at the other three major North American sports leagues. We turn our main attention to a billboard near the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas that reads "the only thing our refs shave is the ice", a knock against recently-disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy. While NBA commissioner David Stern didn't comment, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban didn't seem to mind and actually thought it was in good humor. How about one that knocks America's favorite pastime with this ad "maybe baseball should stop using the word sacrifice". I assume the Stars are referring to how much hockey players sacrifice their bodies for the good of the game and baseball players don't in their eyes. Then again, don't the Texas Rangers have the second highest total of hit batsmen (batters hit by a pitch) in the American League this season? Doesn't that mean anything?
Hmmm, how about this gutsy move by the Stars to take a shot at the NFL and of course the Dallas Cowboys, the one team that really owns the city. "One game a week? Is the N in NFL for Nancy?" definitely could make a point that while football players take a beating once a week, it makes you wonder, could hockey players endure that from 300-pound men? Either way, that swipe at football's most overglamourized team is hilarious if you ask me. "America's Team"? Pfft, yeah right.
Austin, Texas-based Door Number 3, the advertisement agency that jointly worked with the Stars on this billboard campaign seemed to do exactly as they intended. That would be to gain some attention from the slogans and get sports fans talking at their water coolers. I have only seen ESPN.com mention this story at any significant length and even made a few humorous suggestions of billboards for other teams. Pretty funny ones, too!
But I cannot sure for sure if it gained much attention by the local media, but the Dallas Morning News at least covered this story. Either way, whether or not this ad campaign works to the Stars or the NHL's advantage remains to be seen. But undoubtedly, it was cleverly done and hilarious to many who have either seen the billboards or are just learning about them now.
"It's edgy. But we're really good friends with the Mavs. They're our partners in the building (American Airlines Center). I think we thought it would be taken the right way," Stars president Jim Lites told the Dallas Morning News. "It's not a slap at them. It's more of a snip. I think the same goes for the Cowboys. The NFL is the big daddy."
The thing is this though... the Dallas Stars better back up their play with where their big mouth is! Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sure has been quiet about what he may think of the Stars' PR move, but wouldn't it be interesting if sends a jab right back at the Stars?