Kraft Hockeyville grows again

The partnership with the CBC, NHL and NHL Players' Association continues to pay dividends for the packaged goods company.

Kraft is back on the rink for its sixth season as title sponsor of CBC’s Hockeyville contest, which awards one community per year with $100,000 in arena upgrades and a live pre-season game at a local arena.

Over the past five years, sales of Kraft products related to the sponsorship have increased 4 to 6% during the campaigns. The brand recognition has also grown, making Kraft Hockeyville the fourth most recognized community program in Canada, behind CIBC’s Run for the Cure, Kids Help Phone and McHappy Day, all of which have been around significantly longer that Kraft Hockeyville.

For the sixth season, the Kraft Hockeyville sponsorship – fresh off a Gemini win for Best Cross-Platform Project, Non-Fiction – is growing again, adding its own microsite,, and bringing aboard five NHL players as regional ambassadors. The brand also received a logo refresh, and there’s an increased social media presence, with Facebook and Twitter pages.

Julian Franklin, senior consumer promotions manager, corporate scale, Kraft Canada, tells MiC that the sponsorship, even though it deals with the CBC, the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association, is ultimately about reaching out to the grassroots of hockey in Canada, where Kraft has been active for more than 30 years.

‘It’s all about community for us,’ Franklin says. ‘Kraft has been able to connect to communities through Kraft Hockeyville like we haven’t in the past, and it’s something communities have really rallied behind for a common goal to help create a better local rink and bring the power of the NHL, NHLPA and the CBC to their areas if they’re crowned Kraft Hockeyville.’

The contest runs until April. For the launch and nomination phase, which started Nov. 5, Kraft is running a 30-second spot during Hockey Night in Canada and other CBC shows throughout the week. There are also banner ads online at and, as well as the Greater Toronto Hockey League and Hockey Canada websites.

The creative was done by Momentum, and the buy was handled by Starcom MediaVest, both in Toronto. The digital work was done by the CBC.

The brand is also featured prominently on the CBC with five specials throughout the contest. On Jan. 22, the network airs a legacy feature showing how the program has helped communities over the previous five years. That’s followed by shows revealing the Top 10 communities, then the Top 5. The winner is announced during a live broadcast April 2, with a recap feature after Hockey Night in Canada on April 9.