The National Hockey League (NHL) and Paramount Pictures have entered into a strategic marketing alliance supporting the new Mike Myers comedy film The Love Guru due out June 20, which features the Toronto Maple Leafs' pursuit of the Stanley Cup under the guidance of the Guru Pitka, a self-help spiritualist played by Myers.
In the comedy The Love Guru Pitka (Mike Myers in his first original character since Austin Powers) is an American who was left at the gates of an ashram in India as a child and raised by gurus. He moves back to the U.S. to seek fame and fortune in the world of self-help and spirituality. His unorthodox methods are put to the test when he must settle a rift between Toronto Maple Leafs star hockey player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) and his estranged wife. After the split, Roanoke's wife starts dating L.A. Kings star Jacques Grande (Justin Timberlake) out of revenge, sending her husband into a major professional skid -- to the horror of the team's owner Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba) and Coach Cherkov (Verne Troyer). Pitka must return the couple to marital nirvana and get Roanoke back on his game so the team can break the 40-year-old "Bullard Curse" and win the Stanley Cup.
Myers co-wrote the script featuring his beloved hometown Maple Leafs and shot the film in that city. For the production, the NHL provided Myers and Paramount Pictures unprecedented access and rights, including the use of NHL marks and NHL game action footage, permission and facilitation to film inside NHL arenas, and guest appearances by NHL players and the Stanley Cup, the most revered trophy in all professional sports, marking its first starring turn in a feature film.
The marketing alliance includes co-branded and co-produced spots featuring Myers and content from the film to air during NHL game broadcasts on NBC, VERSUS, CBC and TSN, online and in NHL arenas, exclusive NHL.com content and retail activations, all designed to promote the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the June 20, 2008 nationwide theatrical release of the comedy.
The 30-second TV spot, produced in cooperation with the movie studio by NHL Productions, mixes NHL game action with scenes and dialogue from the film. The spot will be seen in various NHL game broadcasts and in-arena. NHL.com will feature unique content, including The Love Guru advice column, cast player faux biographies, blogs and behind-the-scenes video clips and photo galleries. In addition to airing The Love Guru trailers and NHL-produced spots in-arena, NHL clubs will support the partnership during Stanley Cup Playoff games, offering its fans various co-branded giveaways, including passes to screenings of the film and promotional items.
"We are excited to work with Mike Myers, one of our most loyal fans, and Paramount Pictures during the most electrifying time of our season, the Stanley Cup Playoffs," said Ed Horne, NHL Senior Executive Vice President, Communications, Entertainment and Club Business. "This alliance is just another step in our strategic plan to build scale and reinforce the NHL's position within the entertainment space."
"During production, the NHL afforded our filmmakers incredible access to teams, players, arenas and hockey fans," commented LeeAnne Stables, Sr. Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Partnerships at Paramount Pictures. "And now through this partnership we have the opportunity to tap directly into the huge hockey audience to introduce them to 'The Love Guru.'"
As part of the NHL's overall efforts to integrate the NHL brand into the entertainment landscape, the NHL has collaborated with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. In 2006, the NHL signed with the William Morris Agency, which resulted in an integrated marketing campaign with Warner Bros. to promote the 2007 blockbuster feature film, 300. This year's Sundance Film Festival featured a charity celebrity hockey game hosted by former NHL great and current Los Angeles Kings President Luc Robitaille. Among the NHL's advisors on entertainment-based ventures are producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Barry Josephson and Academy Award nominee Jason Reitman (Juno), who also directed an NHL TV advertising campaign.