After scoring a seven-year deal to broadcast National Hockey League games for the first time in 17 years, Disney/ESPN has tapped Minneapolis-based Fallon to design an ad campaign honoring hockey fans, players and the professional league.
The "All For Hockey" ad campaign, which began airing last week, will run through the hockey season.
The ESPN ads promote the NHL's new partnership with Walt Disney Co.'s sports broadcasting arms, which include ESPN, ESPN Plus, ABC and Hulu.
The last time an NHL game was broadcast on ESPN was in 2004, as NBC has held the contract until now.
Fallon officials did not disclose terms for the campaign, which is the agency's first for Disney/ESPN.
For weeks, Fallon quietly worked with ESPN officials and director/photographer Michael Lawrence to capture NHL fans and scenes that convey a sense of intimacy, emotion and sentimentality, the agency said.
"We didn't want to create a hype piece in the traditional sense," Fallon Creative Director Charlie Wolff said. "The appeal and emotion of hockey is as much about heartbreak and sacrifice as it is about triumph and excitement."
Fallon worked with 50 hockey players, parents and fans to make the commercial, which was shot in Vancouver, and includes game footage from past NHL games.
Each story "had to be rooted in a truth about the game," Wolff said.
"Being a proud Minnesota agency, we drew a lot on our own experiences with hockey culture — from early morning ice times to staying up late and watching double OT in our pajamas."
ESPN/Disney is the latest heavy-hitter client for Minneapolis-based Fallon, which also does creative work for Walmart, the Minnesota Timberwolves, Arby's, LL Flooring (formerly Lumber Liquidators) and the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas.
The agency generates an estimated $32 million a year and is the eighth-largest ad agency in the Twin Cities, according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and the NHL announced the deal for TV, streaming and media rights in March 2021. The agreement goes through the 2027-28 season.
"We are thrilled to bring this game to center stage," said Laura Gentile, executive vice president of commercial marketing for Disney Networks and ESPN, in a statement.