Rebranding Your Company for the Home Team (Go Canucks Go!)

As you may have heard, the Vancouver Canucks won last night. That brings them to the Western Conference finals for the first time since the storied 1994 Stanley Cup playoff run and this city is positively electric as a result. This got me thinking, though, about something from a marketing and branding perspective.

A trend that seems to have emerged in these NHL playoffs is the temporary rebranding of companies to demonstrate solidarity with the home team. Undoubtedly, part of the goal of this rebranding is also to get some media attention and attract some more customers. Professional sports represent big bucks, not only for the sports franchise itself, but also for a range of other businesses related or not related to the team at all.

Let’s take a look at two recent examples.

Boston Pizza Is Montreal Pizza

The Montreal Canadiens faced off against the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs. During that time, all Boston Pizza restaurants in Habs territory changed their names to Montreal Pizza. Naturally, there was really nothing official about this and they didn’t go to re-register all their business licenses or re-do all their payroll information, but it was an interesting marketing and branding effort.

Did this result in increased sales? Did more Montreal Canadiens fans make their way to Boston Montreal Pizza locations to watch the hockey games? I’m not sure, but it certainly got the attention of local newspapers, bloggers, and other media outlets.

Predator Ridge Is Canucks Ridge

More recently, Predator Ridge golf resort in the Okanagan temporarily changed its name to Canucks Ridge. Part of this came from lobbying by the local community, but it proved to be an interesting marketing effort for the golf course too. After all, you don’t want to be perceived as supporting the Nashville Predators when the (almost) local Vancouver Canucks are in the playoffs against them.

So, we find ourselves looking forward to the third round of the NHL playoffs. The opponent for the Vancouver Canucks in the upcoming conference finals could be determined later tonight, if not in the next couple of days. If the San Jose Sharks win tonight, that’s who the Canucks get. If the Detroit Red Wings win two in a row, then they’re off to Vancouver for the first game of the Western Conference Finals. And this got me thinking about some of the local businesses that might take on the rebranding effort too.

  • Shark Club -> Canucks Club?
  • Wings -> Nucks?
  • House of Wings -> House of Luongo?

As an aside, it’s great to see Ryan Kesler playing some of the best hockey of his career. He’s involved in just about every play, living up to his billing as a true two-way forward. Whether the Canucks get to dine on shark fin soup or chicken wings the next round, I’m super stoked.