Shop NHL’s marketing strategy angers fans

Your favorite team was just eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs. Odds are you’re feeling anger and various states of disappointment and hurt depending on the fashion of your team’s exit. It’s safe to say you aren’t in the best of moods. 

The official NHL Shop is here to rub some salt in the wounds in what might their most foolish attempt at marketing in recent memory. As if the NHL’s “Because it’s the Cup” campaign wasn’t a big enough blunder, the NHL Shop campaign hits a new low – one that strikes below the belt.

In this example, we’ll use the St. Louis Blues. After being swept by the Los Angeles Kings, fans received an email just moments after the game ended from the NHL Shop. The mailer was saying fans could now hit the links, or play golf, with gear featuring their favorite team’s logo – a clear slam on the fact the club they root for will now be out golfing as opposed to competing for the Cup.

Ouch. Too soon NHL, too soon. Have some class and some respect. 

Regardless of team involved, one has to wonder if the NHL actually expects this campaign to work. From the surface it looks like one of the most foolish attempts to convert a sale that we’ve seen from the league. Fans, especially serious fans that might even consider using golf gear with hockey branding, will be devastated by their team exiting the playoffs. They’ll feel pain and sadness. Perfect opportunity to move some merchandise, right?

The NHL is mocking their very own fans at the worst possible moment. The email came withing 10 minutes of the final horn. If you have your phone set up to receive email alerts you might have been reminded by the NHL’s official store that your team is now setting tee times while handshakes are still taking place on the ice. It’s one thing to hear this sort of message from a rival fan on Twitter. It’s totally different to see the very league you follow sending a mocking message to your inbox for the pure intent of capitalizing on your team’s failures.  

There are a lot of words that could be used to describe this campaign. Two that immediately come to mind are “Foolish” and “Tasteless”. The NHL should know better. They should know how much hockey means to the demographic they are sending this email too and should know that as the governing body they should be extra sensitive when it comes to topics like this.

Didn’t someone on the marketing team over at the NHL stop and think that they might be making a PR blunder? Didn’t someone catch the fact that the joke of a team hitting the links isn’t one the league should be making, especially when trying to peddle off some merch? 

Pull yourself together NHL marketing team. The “Because it’s the Cup” campaign was a big miss but at least didn’t anger the very demographic you rely on. It was a harmless disappointment. This new campaign is a slap in the face and a huge oversight, but we don’t need to tell you that – the failure to move golf gear from this promotion will speak loud enough. 

Many thanks to BSting54TinaBlueAngel, ZEvans13 and RyanHXC for providing images and copies of the discussed email.

About David Rogers

Editor for The Comeback and Contributing Editor for Awful Announcing. Lover of hockey, soccer and all things pop culture.