La NHL et Discovery veulent récupérer Thanksgiving

Aux Etats-Unis, traditionnellement Thanksgiving « appartient » à la NFL avec son match regardé par des millions de personnes. Mais cette année, la NHL va tenter un coup de force en essayant de s’approprier cet événement comme elle a réussi à le faire pour le Nouvel An avec la création du Winter Classic.

Pour arriver à ces fins, à savoir augmenter la notoriété de la NHL et continuer à travailler l’image d’un sport populaire, la NHL a annoncé la signature d’un partenariat avec Discovery Financial Services, un établissement financier spécialisé dans le crédit. Dans le cadre de ce contrat, Discovery récupère le naming du match de NHL qui aura maintenant lieu le vendredi de Thanksgiving, ou « Black Friday » à cause de la ruée dans les magasins, et qui s’appellera donc « Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown ».

Cette année, le « Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown » opposera les Boston Bruins au Detroit Red Wings le 25 Novembre prochain et bénéficiera d’une visibilité médiatique importante puisque ce match marque le début de la saison de hockey sur la chaîne NBC et les premières estimations annoncent une audience près de 50 millions de téléspectateurs pour cet événement sportif.

Bien évidemment pour faire la promotion de ce nouvel événement du calendrier, la NHL a décidé d’utiliser la traditionnelle parade de Thanksgiving, diffusé à la TV le veille du match, pour y greffer un char co-brandé avec Discovery. Pour David Lehanski, Vice-Président de la NFL en charge des ventes, « la parade est chargée de symboles populaires. En faire partie est une chose fantastique pour le hockey ». Ce char co-brandé, de 10 mètres de long et 6 mètres de large, est appelé « Frozen Fall Fun » et comportera une patinoire et une dinde géante de 3.5m de haut habillée en gardien de buts! Des anciennes gloires de la NHL devraient être présentes sur le char et on annonce même une performance live de Cee-Lo Green.

Du côté de Discovery, ce partenariat est l’occasion de renforcer l’engagement de la marque dans le hockey puisque Discovery est la carte de crédit officielle de la NHL, du All-Star Weekend, du Winter Classic, des NHL Awards et de la Draft (vive les packages sponsoring à la NHL!). La marque en a donc profité pour mettre en place des jeux concours pour ses clients, leur donnant l’opportunité de cumuler des points durant le week-end de Thanksgiving échangeables par la suite pour des places au Winter Classic 2012 qui se jouera à Philadelphie. La marque en a aussi profité pour réaliser des spots publicitaires avec 2 joueurs de la NHL, Tim Thomas (Boston Bruins) et Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks), qui se retrouvent dans des situations incongrues, essayant de joindre le service client de leur compagnie de carte de crédit, basée dans un pays de l’Est, sous-entendant qu’avec Discovery bien évidemment tout est plus facile.

Pour la NHL, la stratégie de marketing sportif est claire. L’événementialisation des matchs est devenue le levier majeur pour maintenir et accroitre sa notoriété et son niveau de popularité auprès du grand public, et l’impact ne sera que plus fort si ces matchs ont lieu durant les fêtes nationales ou durant une période de vacances. Chaque match devient alors plus qu’une simple diffusion et toute une plateforme d’activation se greffe autour, permettant au public de participer et aux sponsors d’obtenir un ROI élevé dès la première édition afin de les fidéliser. En ayant dit cela, imaginez toutes les opportunités existantes pour la NHL autour des fêtes et autres événements annuels comme la Saint-Valentin par exemple ou bien encore St Patrick’s Day voire même Pâques!

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