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Stanley's corporate side

It was incredible to witness and be a part of St. Louis going bananas during the Blues playoff run. Seeing life-long fans realize a dream alongside thousands and thousands, who irregularly followed the sport at best, was magical. While #PlayGloria made for an energizing rallying cry.

With so much attention though pointed in one direction comes disingenuous opportunism. One example is a highway billboard I saw the other day with an image of the hard-to-miss Stanley Cup next to a can of Pepsi can saying, “Cheers to the champs”.

While I appreciate the well-wishes the first thought that came to mind was, “what a hollow statement”. Should the Bruins have won the tournament, I imagine a near identical billboard would have appeared in Boston. At least for me, the hollow nature of this statement comes from the fact that I am not aware of any other actions Pepsi has done as a company that this feel like anything more than a one-off. The reason we are seeing this ad though is when Pepsi signed on with the NHL as a North American Partner, this was part of the deal. They had a certain amount of access to use the cup's imagery because they paid for it. In her research, Brené Brown reminds us that trust at both an individual and business-level is earned through multiple small actions rather than one big one. While I don’t believe people at Pepsi, perhaps other those that are Bruins fans, have bad feelings for the Blues, I also don’t believe that the brand itself cares one way or another about the team. What the brand cares about is sales and by standing next to a feel-good moment, they hope to capitalize.

That said when another of the NHL's North American Partners, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, ran a video ad after the Blues won, it both emotionally resonated with me and felt genuine.

I acknowledge that a video can say a lot more than a static billboard but also being the home of Enterprise, the amount of money and energy the company has invested in our town is exceptional and has taken place over a long period of time. I cannot speak in totality to the company’s actions. If Boston had won might the company have run a similarly emotional ad? I do not know but in St. Louis Enterprise’s actions over time have earned it trust that Pepsi does not have here in my opinion.

Pepsi's ad shows us more of a value-aligned marketing approach whereas Enterprise shows us one that is more values-aligned.

Go Forth Boldly