The fertile imaginations at Marketel McCann-Erickson conceived of a surprising campaign for client CCM. TV spots for the Canadian hockey-equipment maker feature skating sperm in sudden-death overtime.
In four 15-second spots that broke during the Feb. 6 NHL All-Star Game on ABC, computer-animated sperm cells maneuver toward an ovum while an unseen crowd roars.
"The puck is dropped," an announcer says in one spot. "Cameron has it and we've seen what kind of damage he can do. Now he's all alone in the slot. He shoots, he scores!" The spots end with shots of real hockey players and the tag, "When you're born to play."
While competing brand Bauer utilizes a "tough, dark, menacing, checking" advertising style, Westmount, Quebec-based CCM's ads evoke traditional hockey's emphasis on technique, said Leon Berger, chairman of the product advisory board at Marketel, Montreal.
"We knew we should be sticking to our guns and going with skill and scoring," Berger said.
"We told [CCM], 'Don't change--be who you are, but make it relevant to the game today.' "
Spots are running for a few months on ABC in the U.S. and on CBC in Canada.