The NHL's advertising is at its best when it captures the humanity of the players, like when they experienced the unparalleled emotional high of capturing the Stanley Cup with their band of brothers.
In other words, the NHL's advertising is at its best in commercials like "Boys," the latest from Young & Rubicam for the 2012 playoffs:
If the vibe of this ad seems familiar, it's because "Boys" is the next installment in a series of similar ads from the agency that have been known to make puckheads get a little misty.
Please recall "No Words":
And the first and best of the series, "Cup Raise":
On the one hand, you could say there's nothing too special about these spots. Archival footage and clever end lines normally don't make for much of a masterpiece. And yet, the ads are undeniably powerful. They tap into a history and tradition that's peculiar and idiosyncratic, and worth celebrating regardless of which team actually wins the Cup. (The two teams involved this year are just guests at the party, almost incidental to the larger narrative.)
And by sidestepping the more obvious plots—e.g., Devils and Kings players actually playing hockey—the spots recognize that the glory of past Cups more compellingly sets the table for this one than focusing on two teams that have yet to meet.
What are your thoughts on "Boys," the new NHL Stanley Cup Final ad?