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The Language of Ice Hockey

Client

Molson Canadian

Market

Canada

Positive Provocation

We positively provoked Molson Canadian to help immigrants to Canada feel more at home, creating a TV broadcast that allowed them to listen to ice hockey commentary in their native language. 

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Our
approach
01.
Challenge

For the 350,000 people who immigrate to Canada each year, ice hockey is a way to connect with their new communities. But making sense of a sport with its own language can be challenging. 

Molson Canadian, always striving to bring people together over all-things Canadian, saw an opportunity to help.

02.
Insight+Strategy
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Do you know what it means if we say, “the biscuit slapper went top shelf, turning into a bottlerocket that lit the lamp to end a barnburner gongshow”? Exactly. That’s our challenge in a sentence.

Canada takes prides in being one of the most welcoming and diverse countries in the world. It’s known for being the first country to introduce a multiculturalism policy, which in 2021 celebrated its 50th anniversary. Canadians are also known for their love of ice hockey and beer, so much that the federal government lists these as Canadian cultural insights for those new to Canada. 

And that’s because ice hockey is more than a sport in Canada; it’s part of Canadian culture, tradition, and identity. But for new Canadians wanting to immerse themselves in Canadian culture, it’s difficult to follow a sport that’s incredibly fast paced. And ice hockey has a vernacular all of its own that sometimes even Canadians struggle with. 

So, as the beer with the country’s name on it, how do you tell millions of new Canadians that they too are welcome to its national sport? You speak to them in their language.

Canada sits down every Saturday night at 7pm to watch ‘Hockey Night In Canada’, a national television broadcast that plays out the biggest NHL ice hockey game of the week, with commentary in Canada’s two official languages, English and French. 

It’s an iconic show that has been broadcasting for 69 years – every Canadian has tuned in, and it’s the topic of conversation around real and virtual water coolers every Monday. It was the perfect place to introduce new Canadians to the esoteric joy of our national sport, we just needed to make it accessible.  

Introducing Molson Canadian Hockey Night In Canada – Multilingual Edition. We would broadcast Canada’s game in seven new languages simultaneously and treat new Canadians to the sounds of Canada’s game in the language of their choosing – something never previously done.

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Activation
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This initiative had one clear purpose: bring more Canadians into the game by letting them hear it in their language.

We chose to create commentaries in Arabic, Cantonese, German, Hindi, Mandarin, Tagalog, and Vietnamese, as these are Canada’s seven most spoken languages (after English and French) in the Canadian cities with an NHL team.

We invited passionate ice hockey fans from each culture to become the voice of their communities, and updated Hockey Night In Canada’s iconic 60 year-old logo with different language versions to make it more inclusive.

We used Spalk’s Virtual Sportscasting Studio and Talent Marketplace to provide both the required technology and experienced ice hockey commentators from around the globe to help customize the viewing experience for each individual language. 

Saturday April 24th 2021 was the day ice hockey history was made as Canadians from all walks of life heard their beloved game in seven new languages simultaneously. 

To commemorate the moment, we launched limited edition Multilingual Molson Canadian beer cans in stores, and even created an ice hockey language translator to make the game more accessible.

Results

Canadians took notice, with national conversations taking place around ice hockey and inclusivity on TV, newspapers, and social media.  

The campaign generated 38 million earned impressions – enough for every single Canadian to potentially see the campaign.  

On game night itself, 1.1 million Canadians tuned in for the Multilingual broadcast, and 23.8% BIPOC Canadians were aware of the broadcast. 

Canadians of Legal Drinking Age increased their positive impression of Molson Canadian by 11 points during the campaign, and consideration rose by 15 points. 

And Molson have committed to growing the Multilingual programme in the coming seasons. Because Molson Canadian means ice hockey – in every language.

38m
Earned media impressions
1.1m
Canadians tuned in for the multilingual broadcast
23.8%
Of BIPOC Canadians were aware of the broadcast

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