By Barry Janoff
March 1, 2017: You must be doing something right if you are 125 years old and people want to earn the right to be in your presence, carry you around, take you on trips, pay homage to your history and strive to be part of your future.
The NHL this week is unveil a multi-platform campaign to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup, calling it "the most coveted trophy in sports."
The effort, to run in the U.S. and Canada, is anchored by two TV spots that will break during NHL programming across the media platforms of NBC, Rogers (Canada) and the NHL — including NHL Network, NHL.com, in-arena, digital and social media.
The NHL, celebrating its 100th season will begin the Stanley Cup playoffs the second week of April, followed by the Stanley Cup championship.
According to the league, March 18 marks the 125th anniversary of the 1892 donation of the Stanley Cup by Sir Frederick Arthur, Lord Stanley of Preston and son of the Earl of Derby, to be presented to "the championship hockey club of the Dominion of Canada."
"As we commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup, we take a moment to recognize its significance in the NHL’s 100-year history," Brian Jennings, NHL chief brand officer and evp for the NHL, said in a statement. “The Stanley Cup continues to dutifully serve in its mission as a worldwide hockey ambassador and our symbol of excellence.
"This campaign celebrates the Stanley Cup’s continued impact in the growth of the game, on and off the ice," said Jennings.
One of the two Stanley Cup anniversary spots, "Imperfectly Perfect," focuses on the names of the players from NHL championship engraved on the Cup itself, which dates back to 1906-07 and became an annual tradition in 1924, according to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The beauty of the Cup is shown in the wear, tear, scratches, dings, dents and names that adorn the trophy, which stands just under three feet tall and weighs 34 and half lbs.
The second spot, "If This Cup Could Talk," follows the unique journey that the Stanley Cup takes each year when players from the championship squad are allowed to take an official travel version of the Cup with them almost wherever they want to for a total of about 100 days, always accompanied by an official representative from the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The spot, using footage from the early days of the NHL through recent champions, also focuses on what the Stanley Cup means to the NHL and "the soul of every single player who has fought for the right to hoist it above his head."
As a voiceover explains, "If this Cup could talk . . . it would recall countless hearts it has touched . . . and all of the places it has been."
According to the Hockey Hall of Fame, there are more than 2,500 names engraved on bands that are then clamped around the Cup, most recently 52 players from the 2015-16 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
Lead agency is R&R Partners, Las Vegas, in collaboration with the NHL.
The agency also worked with the NHL on a long-form video piece featuring the Stanley Cup that will be released as part of on-going marketing.