Sports Interaction ad campaign leans into its Canadian roots

Americans don't know jack about hockey

Entain-owned sports betting brand Sports Interaction has been leveraging humor and cross-border rivalry to engage its audience through its latest ad campaign, the second installment of the “Americans don’t know jack about hockey.”

The first campaign, consisting of ad spots and social media content, asks Americans about hockey and insists that local operators, like Sports Interaction, are the best to serve Canadian bettors for hockey wagering. Canadian Gaming Business caught up with Michael Zitney, Director of Brand & Content at Sports Interaction, to gain valuable insights into the campaign’s creation and a broader strategy to resonate with Canadian hockey fans.

The initial campaign, filmed in Los Angeles, targeted Americans’ hockey knowledge, or the perceived lack thereof, stirring conversations on social media. Critics suggested a shift to more hockey-savvy U.S. cities would yield different results.

In response, Sports Interaction headed to New York, home of the “Original Six” New York Rangers. Zitney explained the rationale behind choosing New York.

“We’re a brand that wants to poke the bear, so we took that same narrative and said, ‘Okay, fine, we’ll go to one of the original six cities,’” he said.

The campaign shows Sports Interaction’s commitment to being a “challenger brand” that stands out through bold and engaging content.

“It was being that challenger brand, punching up, going after the big American brands that came into Ontario, so fast and furious with their big kind of glitzy ads,” Zitney remarked on the campaign’s inception.

The campaign reflects Sports Interaction’s deep understanding of the Canadian sports scene and its effort to communicate with Canadian sports fans more personally than its competitors. “We’ve been around in Canada; we understand Canadians at a different level than these American companies,” Zitney highlighted, emphasizing the brand’s localized approach to content and betting offerings.

Addressing regulatory changes to force brands away from using athletes in advertising, Zitney mentioned the campaign was part of a strategy to adapt and innovate within the constraints.

“We were future-proofing ourselves,” he said, indicating a proactive approach to evolving advertising regulations.

Looking ahead, Zitney hinted at continuing the campaign, focusing more on Canadian audiences.

“We’re looking to do something as a playoff push to kind of wrap it all up before the end of the hockey season,” he shared, suggesting a potential shift in focus to celebrate Canadian hockey knowledge.

Sports Interaction’s campaign showcases its unique brand voice and demonstrates an effective engagement strategy that leverages national pride, humor, and sports culture. Through Zitney’s insights, it’s clear that the brand aims to foster a sense of community and pride among Canadian hockey fans, setting itself apart in a competitive market.

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