1. We know: All you can think about this week is football. So skip along, then, because we're going to spare a thought for our own national game. (No, not lacrosse.) After kicking off the season last fall with a series of hard-hitting TV ads touting its players' true grit, the National Hockey League is pairing up with a couple of brands that take the NHL into territory usually considered outside the realm of traditional masculinity. First up is Hockey for Huggies, a partnership with Kimberly-Clark, in which the league is collecting diapers and donations for families in need. It's a good cause, so we'll refrain from cracking wise about needing Huggies to handle all the crap we get from friends for being die-hard Toronto Maple Leafs fans.
2. In any case, the NHL players are too self-assured to care what we think. At least, that's the underlying message from the league's other new partnership, a co-promotion effort with Dove's growing Men+Care line of personal care products. A pair of new TV spots with former All-Star Brendan Shanahan and the Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock follow the men's "journey toward discovering [their]own sense of personal comfort." The spots, which emphasize the men's roles as fathers, are trying to push Canadians into thinking about new definitions of manhood. Pssst, NHL, you want to know what's manly? Banning head shots.
3. Maybe hockey fans should start an iAd campaign to sway the NHL. Because this week Apple released a study about the effectiveness of the company's proprietary format for mobile advertising, which suggested that those who had seen a Campbell's iAd were twice as likely to recall it as those who had seen a similar spot on TV. The findings may be questionable - the novelty factor of the iAds is probably juicing the results - but it's nice to see that Apple, which is notoriously guarded, recognizes such studies are necessary. Now if only it would share some of the other information it has about iPad and iPhone users, maybe advertisers and publishers wouldn't want to give Apple its own shot to the head.
4. Still, it's pretty clear that TV also remains an effective medium. Last week in this space, we described a 60-second spot produced for the National Football League Players Association ( Watch the NFLPA's 'Let us play' ad )that urged the team owners to not lock out the athletes at the beginning of next season. But this week the spot, titled Let Us Play, was rejected by CBS's College Sports Network, where the NFLPA had intended to run it Saturday, one day before the Super Bowl. The rejection led to a quickly produced ad called Let It Air that presses the network to run Let Us Play and asks fans to join the players at the Twitter barricades by tweeting their support. Suppression of speech! It's just like Egypt! Except with millionaires!