Whitecaps Launch Countdown ‘Til Kickoff Campaign

The Whitecaps launched their Countdown ‘Til Kickoff campaign today, as they aimed to “paint the town white” and turn everyone in Vancouver into Whitecaps fans, whether they’re alive, dead or inanimate. I’m surprised everyone isn’t already of course!

Whitecaps staff were up and about from before sunrise to make sure that the city woke up to a Whitecaps frenzy, as the club launched their guerilla marketing campaign to begin the 30 day countdown till the club kick off their MLS era.

The Caps had told people to watch out for them on their morning commute and the Vancouver early risers awoke to find Whitecaps scarves and jersey adorning famous landmarks and statues including Gassy Jack, the Inukshuk, The Laughing Men, the Stanley Park scuba girl and even a stone lion on the Lions Gate bridge.

Posters were up around the town and some lucky commuters were able to pick up a new Whitecaps scarf to celebrate the countdown.

Various videos are up on the Whitecaps website and social media sites but this excellent one below shows a compilation of the Day One countdown events:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4Xd4NfXU6g&w=500&h=311]Not sure about the song chosen, unless that was them giving an answer to a charge put to them of being clueless in the ticketing department in the build up to first kick!

Want to see more from today’s activities? Then check out the offical Whitecaps Flickr page. Our particular favourite video from this morning though can be found HERE. Enjoy! I know I did!

Some fans weren’t too impressed by the first day activities and I personally would have liked a little additional something with a slightly bigger bang to kick things of, but overall I would say it’s been a great success and has certainly brought a good reaction to the Whitecaps Facebook and Twitter pages.

Some of the criticism levelled has been due to the fact that Seattle Sounders did a very similar campaign in decorating the city before they joined MLS. You have to remember though that there’s very little original ideas in marketing these days. Unless you go for my “Cannon out of a cannon” idea, which has been growing a Twitter following! (remember tweeters – #shootjoecannonoutofacannon).

One way we can measure how successful the campaign this morning was, was how the television media covered it. They have a much bigger reach than the printed kind for those that missed it and you have the visual factor to go with it. Would the campaign make the two main 5 o’clock news programmes? Would it just be on the sports section or make the actual news? We waited in anticipation.

CTV news gave it a minute of coverage with Perry Solkowski, in a nice piece showing some videos of where the Caps hit. Good stuff. They’ve supported the Caps for a while and will be a great regional partner for the team if that’s the way things work out next week.

On the other hand, CBC News, that would be the one that proudly claims “from Vancouver”, had no mention of the campaign in their ‘coming up’ intro and in the first sports broadcast there was no mention of it at all. Of the stories covered, the Canucks led off, then there was piece on Alexander Ovechkin scoring a goal (seriously, wtf?), then just when I thought the Caps would be up next it moved to baseball and a story on the Toronto Bluejays and then bizarrely the Detroit Tigers. Sigh.

The second sports slot did feature a football item, but it was about how much money Real Madrid have made as opposed to how much the Whitecaps spent today in money and time.

I’m glad that CBC have lost their MLS broadcasting rights. They’re a disgrace to the sport. They give us Nigel Reed after all. They should stick to monkey tennis. Oh I see they are.

The campaign may not have been to everyone’s liking but it was certainly a dramatic city wide blitz that had people talking, if not the television companies.

What we need to ask is who were the Caps aiming at with their campaign? It wasn’t the television companies and the majority of fans seem to have liked what they’ve done today. Did it create a buzz? Definitely yes. Did it have people in the city talking about the Caps? Yes again. Will it have got people not interested in the Caps interested in them now? Probably not, but hey, we deem it as very successful start and there’s more to come. So sit tight.

Screw CBC. They’ll be sniffing about the Caps soon enough I’m sure.

What do the Caps have in store for the other 29 days of the campaign? Well, we can’t wait to find out but we hope it’s dramatic and will have people talking. Maybe they’ll use some of our suggestions from earlier this week. We’re still holding out for that cannon!

Authored by: Michael McColl

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