As a Chicagoan, of course I'm biased because our team is (once again) vying for the NHL's highest honor. But hometown loyalties aside, I'm honestly amazed at the incredible skill, grit and sheer audacity of the players and coaches on both teams (did you SEE that crazy first goal of the series?).
But seeing this spot, I realized what makes this particular final series so historic: the indelible impression these Blackhawk and Lightning players are leaving on the sport today, right now, even as we speak. Toews, Kane, Crawford, Johnson, Stamkos, Bishop--these are names we'll remember long after this season ends. The new NHL Stanley Cup Finals spot, "Name", makes that point so well by looking back at some of the league's greatest: Bobby Hull, Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Clarke, Stan Mikita, Bobby Orr (so many Bobbies), and of course my boyhood hero, Gordie Howe (rocking it sans helmet, like they all did back in the crazy days).
Eschewing traditional play-based action footage, "Name" focuses instead on players off the ice and between puck-drops. They're making their way onto the ice, changing shifts. They're sitting on the bench, or gliding up to the face-off circle. They're thinking, watching, planning. Shots like that make a strong emotional connection and reveal the basic humanity in each player. Here's what Cutter's Steve Bell said about this strategy for creating the spot:
"As with our previous campaigns, the NHL preferred to leverage emotion and heritage to appeal to their incredibly intelligent and knowledgeable fan-base, creating the kind of tribute fans have responded to so well in the past."
Ad campaigns like this make me glad to be a fan.