Scotiabank adds transit to its hockey plan

Pre-loaded Presto cards offer a natural tie-in for hockey fans, while promoting the bank itself, says CMO John Doig.
Scotiabank-Scotiabank will be giving 20-000 free PRESTO Cards to

Last night’s Leafs home opener brought good news to Toronto fans for a multitude of reasons. For one, the boys in blue managed to open the season with a victory against rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. But for many attending in person, there was an added bonus: a significant discount on transit.

Throughout the late afternoon, representatives from Scotiabank were stationed at various TTC and Go outposts in both downtown and suburban Toronto handing out pre-loaded Presto cards. The promotion is part of Scotiabank’s ongoing hockey-centered media and sponsorship efforts, but also welcomed a new partner into the mix for the first time: transit agency Metrolinx.

All Presto cards handed out had their activation fees waved, representing a value of $6. Additionally, cards handed out at subway stations were pre-loaded with a value of $6 (the price of two subway trips on a Presto card); those given at Go stations were loaded with a value of $8. Finally, as a tie-in for the bank, Scotiabank customers who go online following the game and activate their card receive an additional $6 credit. In total, 10,000 cards were handed out Oct. 3 (some by Toronto Maple Leafs alumnus Darcy Tucker).

John Doig, EVP and CMO of Scotiabank, told MiC it’s a continuation of a campaign that began in September. “We launched this campaign to spread the message, ‘Your Leafs, your arena.’” With the bulk of the messaging being on transit advertising (with additional digital spots featuring star centre Auston Matthews, Doig says it seemed like a natural extension to actually tie a trip on transit into the campaign.

“We’ve been saying that the arena is the heart of the city,” he says. “So we started thinking about the path to the stadium. When you see the volume of people that come into the city, for many, the most efficient way is on a subway or a train. So this became about connecting people there.”

With this being a first for Scotiabank and Metrolinx, Doig says it was serving as a sort of pilot, and that they may do similar initiatives in the future. It’s already committed to doing the same on Oct. 17 for the Raptors’ home opener, for which it will issue another 10,000 cards (the promotion will also tie in Scotiabank subsidiary Tangerine, which is the official bank of the Raptors).

Doig says that much of the summer has been spent introducing fans to the identity of the Scotiabank Arena, which was previously known as the Air Canada Centre.  Now, he says, the next six months will be about enhancing the fan experience at the arena, updating digital signage on the exterior (bringing entirely new signage to the Bremner Blvd. side of the arena), adding new elements to Maple Leaf’s Square and Jurassic Park and renovating the top of the building.

Doig has estimated that hockey-related activity has represented 45% of the financial institution’s media spend over the last three years. Scotiabank has worked with agencies MKTG, PHD and Bensimon Byrne on all of its hockey sponsorship efforts.