Carl, The Rink Guy, Laments Bauer's Success


Once upon a time there was the Maytag Repairman. A poor, lonely soul who sat beside a telephone (a landline, no less), waiting for customers to call to repair their trustworthy appliances.

In a somewhat more modern update on the archetype, Bauer Hockey introduces Carl, The Rink Guy -- a poor ice rink manager who spends his days replacing the light bulbs that light up when a hockey goal has been scored. Carl, who has his own Facebook page, has started a crusade against Bauer's new stick, the Vapor X:60.

"It's born out of the stick scoring a lot of goals. We want to take the idea that not everyone wants to see goals and take it beyond goalies, which we've all seen before." Derek Bitter, creative director at Olson, the advertising agency that created the campaign, tells Marketing Daily. "It started with the TV spot. When we were making it, we thought, 'This guy is a good character.' We needed an avenue to get him out and about and give him a platform to talk to hockey-crazy kids out there."



The television commercial, which has been airing on hockey-centric programming and seeded on hockey blogs since early November, features a lonely Carl changing a red lightbulb above a hockey goal as a mournful piano soundtrack plays. (He throws the used one into a garbage can full of red bulbs.)

But it's on the Facebook page that Carl's story comes to life. In a two-minute video, Carl introduces himself, saying that he's been managing his rink for 30 years. "There's a lot of upkeep and stuff, but it's a good job," Carl says before spilling a hot cup of coffee on himself as a horn signaling the end of a hockey period blows. "Or it was." Carl goes on to explain that the "kids" are all into the new stick, which has allowed people to score a whole lot of goals. "That stick can go to heck as far as I'm concerned," Carl says before he breaks down in tears.

"A lot of us who work on the account played hockey at one time or another, and one of the truths is that every rink has one of these lovable, curmudgeonly rink managers that we can all share stories about," Bitter says. "One of the great things I've found in looking at it is looking at who have become fans. If you look at their profile pictures, it has something to do with hockey. So we're hitting the right people."

Other videos show Carl, who has amassed nearly 1,400 fans, subtly tearing down posters for the new stick and going about his day at the rink. Carl's status updates portray him as unable to decorate a Christmas tree because he's sick of lightbulbs and losing his composure at the sight of a Rudolph the Red Nosed reindeer.

"Before it launched, we had almost a toolbox of [planned] updates, but as kids started interacting with this guy, it's become more organic," Bitter says. "Through the writing, we've made it seem like he's dabbling on [Facebook] and catching up to speed on how it works."

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