So the NHL has finally completed their comeback. When was this, you ask? Look no further than the upcoming Mike Myers, Justin Timberlake, and Jessica Alba film. Hockey purists may argue that the NHL has never fallen off but numbers don’t lie. Since returning from the league’s lockout a few years back, attendance and viewership has seen a sharp decline. The marketing alliances that have been created for the launch of “The Love Guru” are a great way to grab attention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Ed Horne, NHL Senior Executive Vice President, Communications, Entertainment and Club Business confirms, “This alliance is just another step in our strategic plan to build scale and reinforce the NHL’s position within the entertainment space.”
Two years ago the NHL signed with the Williams Morris Agency, a move that led to new relationships with Warner Brothers, Sundance Film Festival, and two acclaimed Hollywood producers. There are a ton of NHL/”The Love Guru” tie-ins that I will not discuss in this post, but you can find them by visiting NHL.com and watching the Stanley Cup playoffs. Why not support Canada’s (winter) national sport, eh?
Here is some background on the film, “The Love Guru” :
In the comedy “The Love Guru,” Pitka (Mike Myers in his first original character since Austin Powers) is an American who was left at the gates of an ashram in India as a child and raised by gurus. He moves back to the U.S. to seek fame and fortune in the world of self-help and spirituality. His unorthodox methods are put to the test when he must settle a rift between Toronto Maple Leafs star hockey player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) and his estranged wife. After the split, Roanoke’s wife starts dating L.A. Kings star Jacques Grande (Justin Timberlake) out of revenge, sending her husband into a major professional skid – to the horror of the teams’ owner Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba) and Coach Cherkov (Verne Troyer). Pitka must return the couple to marital nirvana and get Roanoke back on his game so the team can break the 40-year-old “Bullard Curse” and win the Stanley Cup.
The cross promotion for this movie is a unique opportunity to leverage the excitement of the NHL championships, (the comeback of) Mike Myers, and the star studded theatrical release. Myers gets to pay homage to his beloved team, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the NHL and its properties get a boost from Myer’s brand equity. Overall, regular season attendance for Toronto has seen a decrease by approximately 2,000 between the 2006 and 2007 seasons. The NHL has granted Myers unprecedented use of trademarks and overall access because the Myer’s brand is a winner that has global awareness. The positive association of the NHL with the film will benefit the league years after the film makes it to HD DVD and Blue-Ray. Look to see a Maple Leafs’s attendance jump for the 2008-09 season, but too bad the team could not make the playoffs this year (note: the Toronto Maple Leaf’s statistically were the worst NHL team in Canada for 2007-08). However, next year the Maple Leafs with be able to capitalize on their added exposure similar to the old Mighty Ducks (the Flying V and Knuckle puck might have helped this season). If Mike Myers is a betting man he might need to roll with America for this year’s playoffs.
With America’s economic recession, weak dollar, and trade deficit we all need some Canadian comedic relief. Not since 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and the original Austin Powers have I anticipated the nationwide release of a comedy. “The Love Guru” promises to be the perfect dessert to the Stanley Cup Championship series and a way to keep fans engaged in the best show on ice. You can tell Disney on Ice I said that!