Skip to comments.Local firm scores big with B's ads
Posted on 04/27/2009 8:07:31 AM PDT by raccoonradio
WENHAM The bear doesn't look like a bear. It looks like a man in a bear suit. The bear doesn't say anything, and the actors around him don't say much either. But Bruins fans are hearing their message loud and clear.
A new series of commercials teaching the rules for Boston Bruins fans has become a sensation, with half a million hits in the first week on YouTube. Mullen Advertising of Wenham created the spots using the talents of Jesse Blatz, 36, of Brighton and Greg Almeida, 31, of Peabody.
"The Bruins as a client are great," Blatz says. "They definitely understand that hockey is a tough sport." But Blatz and Almeida rejected the notion of running the cliched image of athletes as modern day gladiators. They decided, "We could have some fun with the bear."
The Bruins gave their blessing.
In one ad, the deadpan bear confronts a fan in a Bruins shirt who has just bought a beer for his girlfriend. She is wearing a Montreal Canadiens shirt. The longer the bear stares, the more uncomfortable the young fan gets. Finally, he leans apologetically toward the bear and mumbles, "She's so pretty."
But the bear will have none of it. He knocks the man's beer to the floor and pulls off his jersey. Finally, a message advises, "Never Date Within Your Division." It's an ad that couldn't come at a better time, Blatz says, just as Boston makes its historic playoff sweep of the rival Canadiens.
In two other ads, the bear hits a man in the face with a fish for tucking in his Bruins jersey (one of the more obscure violations of Bruins rules) while in another he silently chases a fan through the arena for talking on his cell phone during the game.
"We've heard from the Bruins people," Blatz says. "They're crazy about the campaign." More commercials might be in the offing. Canadian fans have even created a response featuring a Montreal rooter spilling the drink of a Bruins die-hard. The drink turns out to be milk.
"It's not very funny," Blatz says.
The Bruins ad is "pretty great," says Tim Ferguson Sauder, who does marketing for Gordon College. Further, it works on an unconscious level, inviting the viewer to "get" the joke and feel a part of the sleuth (that's the collective for a bunch of bears) of Boston hockey lovers.
"Just the assumption that there are these rules that everyone should understand," Sauder marvels. "You see the guy running with his cell phone. Anyone who's been to a Bruins game and heard someone talking on their cell phone during the game understands that."
The commercials were filmed at the Garden in Boston with local actors on an afternoon when the crowd for "Disney on Ice" had just departed. New York director Harold Einstein oversaw the filming.
Ordinarily, Blatz says, a casting call would have been done in New York or Los Angeles. This spot was different. It called for local faces, local voices and a local attitude.
For that matter, the bear has his own attitude. "He's modeled after the Bruins enforcer on the ice. Someone like (Milan) Lucic. The bear isn't supposed to be him. But if the bear were a hockey player, he'd be one of these enforcers."
"When you have humor involved, it's a good thing," says physical trainer Marti Shea of Select Fitness Inc. in Marblehead. She's involved in marketing her business and an avid hockey fan. "My niece plays for BC."
Making people laugh is priceless in getting the customer's attention, she indicates.
For her part, Shea admits she once dated a Canadiens fan, but in case any Bruins are listening she makes it clear that she married someone else.
The spots have helped launch a new Bruins Web site, Blatz says, "Bostonbruinstv.com." Both Blatz and Almeida are local guys who have rooted for the Bruins all their lives. This campaign was the chance of a lifetime. "People I know have been telling me how much they love it."
The pair would be only too happy if other sports franchises lined up for their services.
"It just hit me as funny," says Paul Gorman, director of the Lynch/Van Otterloo YMCA in Salem.
He also sees its marketing value. "It just grabs people's attention."
On the other hand, Gorman is not certain of the message. For one thing, he's in no position to complain if his escort wears a Canadiens jersey.
"My wife is from Montreal," he says.
Yes, he confesses, as a young man he did date within his division.
Just don't tell the bear.
The Bruins will win the Stanley Cup!
Creative to say the least....
I still say, “Screw you Jeremy Jacobs” though. If that cheap a-hole had been willing to shell out a few dollars from some talent the B’s could have won a Cup since their last one.
Hookers & hockey players. LMAO!
At least she looks like a hockey player. :)
Who, the bear or the girlfriend?
The only good thing about Montreal is Club Super-Sex.
The Canadienne. :)
Club Chez Parée was good too as I recall....
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