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Hawks' campaign scores

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Duncan Keith in one of the spots.


The "One Goal" tag line won't change, but the style, tone and substance of a new TV advertising campaign for the Chicago Blackhawks have been completely -- and fascinatingly -- revamped in the wake of the team's winning the Stanley Cup last season.

The campaign, developed jointly by the Hawks' crackerjack in-house marketing department and Ogilvy & Mather/Chicago, debuts tonight during the national telecast on cable channel Versus of the Hawks' season opener against the Colorado Avalanche.

The three debut 30-second spots focus on three of the team's star returning players: Team captain Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith.

Beautifully shot, each spot shows one of the players practicing on ice. Super slow-motion segments are purposely included in the spots, according to Hawks marketing honcho Dave Knickerbocker, to make clear the incredible level of skating and hockey puck control skill required to be a champion professional hockey player.

The stunning slow-motion bits do accomplish that goal, but they also provide close-up, evocative portraits of the expressive faces of the three players. And a large part of the Hawks' marketing game plan for the past year -- as it will remain going forward -- has been to make the players more real and accessible to the team's large -- and rapidly growing -- fan base.

Aside from the beauty of the slow-mo sequences, the commercials incorporate a soft piano musical underscoring that projects a classy, classic aura -- a marked departure from so much sports-related advertising that is all about being hyper-macho or hyper-juvenile and comedic.

The voiceover ad copy in each commercial suggests the Hawks have no intention of resting on their laurels. In his spot, Toews talks about the awards and medals he received last year and ends by noting "that was last season." Kane talks about how each player gets to keep the Stanley Cup for a day and then goes on to say "let me tell you, one day isn't enough."

But the most compelling -- and moving -- commercial stars Duncan Keith, who says he left seven teeth on the ice last season. After a dramatic pause, Keith adds "I have 25 teeth left," leaving viewers to surmise he's willing to sacrifice any or all of them to get another Stanley Cup win.

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