Monday, May 23, 2011

"Spirited Energy" creator says naming the new NHL team "Jets" a bad idea.

Marketing guru Peter George, the man responsible for the Maintoba's ill-fated "Spirited Energy" marketing campaign recommends against calling the new NHL team the Winnipeg Jets.   George was recently interviewed by the Sun to share his thoughts on this issue:

“It’s a new age in every way,” said Peter George, president and CEO of Winnipeg’s McKim Cringan George marketing firm. “We have to be prepared to move forward in this city and not cling to the icons of a bygone era. “There’s tons to be said for tradition, but that business is done. The Winnipeg Jets were done. It would be the Jets in name only, right?”
On the Winnipeg hockey fans who favor the Winnipeg Jets name:

That seems to be the prevailing thought, although George said that could simply be the vocal minority. “No one’s out there writing letters to the editor saying, ‘Hey, I don’t want them to be called the Jets,’ ” he said.  

“Maybe there’d be a small outcry — the same people that tried to encircle the Eaton’s building and stop it from getting torn down would be outraged — if we weren't getting called the Jets.”

People in Winnipeg have developed an emotional attachment to the Winnipeg Jets name.  Jets merchandise has outsold any other hockey club in recent years, and since it looks like the NHL will be returning, sports and jersey stores cannot keep up with the demand for vintage NHL Jets merchandise.
The main argument against the use of the Jets name comes from many who say that the Jets name and logo are from the past.  The argument is that with a new identity and logo, the team will sell more jerseys and apparel. 

Vancouver Canucks different style uniforms
Use the Vancouver Canucks for comparison.  The team changed uniforms many times.  From their retro blue and green jerseys of the 70`s, to the  yellow and black ``V`` logo of the 80`s, and finally changing to a slightly updated version of their original jerseys, with the addition of a new logo.  The same can be said about the Los Angeles Kings, Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals, and Anaheim Ducks.  All these NHL teams have change their appearances, with mainly positive results.
The next argument comes from people who say that the Winnipeg Jets were a mediocre team, at best, and need a fresh start to get away from the image of failure.
The problem with this argument is that NHL clubs do not become successful by their appearance.  NHL teams that enjoy success on the ice have excellent management and stable ownership.  
Dale Hawerchuk (1981-90)
I am really hoping that the new Winnipeg NHL club is called the Jets.  Growing up as a kid in the eighties, I lived through the good, the bad, and the ugly.  When the Jets moved in 1996, I was barely out of high school.  

When I resided in Alberta, several people that came into contact with me, either walking the streets, going to a restaurant, or elsewhere would often compliment me on my Jets shirt or cap.  I would often get fellow Manitobans (and others) asking me what part of Winnipeg I was from, and how much they thought Winnipeg deserved another NHL team.
With nearly 2/3 of Winnipeg residents favouring the new team to be called the Jets by various polls in Winnipeg, I think True North Sports & Entertainment should give the people what they want.  A new team by any other name would be a bad PR move by the new Winnipeg based team.


  1. They better be called the Jets. And you're right - Spirited Enegery was a waste of money. And I think we all recall those inflamatory images emailed around with that logo.

  2. I think you'll find the reason why the Spirited Energy campaign is not on MCG's website is because that agency did not develop the campaign. Jeff Swystun of Interbrand (in T.O. and New York) is the man who developed the "Spirited Energy" campaign. Peter George's agency had nothing to do with the development of the name; its job was the distribution of the campaign in the market. Many media outlets reported this incorrectly at the time, but then came to understand how it worked. For your reference:

  3. Thanks for the update. I have corrected the article, and I will take your word that MCG and Peter George did not develop Spirited Energy. I apologize for any inaccuracies.

  4. Thanks and much appreciated, The Purple Rod.

    And and I think we all agree: Go Jets!