A few weeks ago the streets and Skytrain stations of Vancouver were plastered with posters to advertise the new Canucks season. The theme, "We are All Canucks", and the unique twist is that they used photos of players in plain-clothes, fans on the concourse, and snapshots of hockey bloggers and podcasters.
That's right, the Canucks organization has embraced its bloggers and is putting them front and centre this season, including members of The Crazy Canucks podcast such as Dave Olson, JJ Guerrero, Alanah McGinley, John Bollwitt, and yours truly.
The idea was the brainchild of the two pros at Anton Slegdehammer, a firm that was hired by the NHL franchise last season that created the "Ultimate Canucks Fan" search.
The duo, Jamie Ollivier and Bruce Warren, were able to come up with a marketing plan (and get the suits at the Canucks fully on board) that would highlight and promote the fans who have been talking about the team online for years.
"As the creative agency for the Vancouver Canucks, we believe that fans are a central asset of the organisation as well as a being a highly articulate & informed editorial pool," noted Ollivier . "We have architected The Fan Zone Campaign to be a cross media venue to showcase these Bloggers, Pod casters, Fans and their respective talents. Of the fans, by the fans, for the fans!"
The featured bloggers and podcasters, which can also be seen on the Fan Zone page of the Canucks website, are encouraged to continue their punditry - write about the team, the players, and the game as they always would and with no more sugar coating - or vinegar) than usual. They're able to gain some exposure as well as having their efforts recognized by the organization (however, we're still waiting on the offer of season tickets).
At a time when blogger confidence is pretty low in the NHL, it's encouraging to see teams embrace their online fans in this manner and it's certainly a small check in the "W" column for social media.