NHL Turning to Hair to Tell Stories with Great Clips

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NHL Great Clips Brent Burns
Photo Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

There’s an art to hockey hair and the NHL wants to spread the word through its partnership with Great Clips.

NHL players generally take great pride in their hairstyles, said Evin Dobson, NHL group vice president of partnership marketing. The Great Clips partnership allows the two organizations to better showcase the stories of the hairstyles, even in a somewhat self-deprecating way, he said.

“We like to say the success of the business is the success of players on the ice, night-in and night-out,” Dobson said. “But for us, it’s exciting for a partner like Great Clips to showcase personalities in a fun and interesting way and the subject matter of hockey players and their hairstyles is so fun and magical.”

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The partnership with Great Clips is a new multi-year deal, but it’s the second straight year of the LegendHairy Greats of the NHL, which will allow fans to vote for their favorite NHL hairstyles and share their favorites on social media. Six NHL players will be featured in the voting campaign, including San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns; Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi; Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander; Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos; Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba; and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk.

The voting campaign is meant to help drive engagement with shareable content, but also start and drive conversations about hockey hair and the players fans love most, said Lisa Hake, Great Clips vice president of marketing and communications.
The partnership also includes the NHLPA.

“Building off our successful work together during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, we are extremely excited to see our relationship with Great Clips expand,” said Sandra Monteiro, NHL Chief of Global Business Strategies. “This partnership continues to showcase the players, their styles and personalities and capitalizes on their ability to connect with fans across North America.”

The campaign will also feature a video series of players interviews talking and photos about the history of their hairstyles, starting with Burns and Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith.

“We shot video with them talking about their great hair, memorable hair stories and insight to their current styles and what makes them special,” Hake said. “It’s showcasing their confidence and swagger in their hair and sport.”

Dobson said hairstyles are important to many of the NHL players and while helmets are on during the games, they can be seen in many shots before and after games. Likewise, many players keep their helmets off during warmups realizing the opportunity to show off their hair.

“We’re always very conscious of how we speak to fans and our messaging,” Dobson said. “They’re tough, but they care about their appearance. We want to help educate the fans about how to get great hair in a fun and engaging way.”

The LegendHairy Greats campaign will also be present in 4,400 Great Clips salons in the U.S. and Canada, Great Clips app, broadcasts, arenas and the various social media channels throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The partnership also includes traditional TV spots and dasher board logos.

“With all of those touch points, we love when our partners lean in through platforms with content and storytelling,” Dobson said. “They’re investing heavily in the NHL ecosystem and players association rights, just really heavily invested in this opportunity.”

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Along with the overall NHL partnership, Great Clips also has seven club partnerships with the Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Hake said Great Clips realized the natural synergies with the NHL when they looked at the target customer demographics. The new partnership launches with this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, but will be featured through branding and activations across NHL properties and events during the foreseeable future.

“It’s just a great authentic tie-in,” she said. “We’re really excited about the partnership and the stories we can tell about the players and their great personalities. And the best time to do it is the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The competition on the ice is fierce, but that doesn’t me we can’t showcase and have fun with stories.”