Fans take notice: BC Lions want you in the stands, so they're painting the town orange
If you’ve had a chance to walk around downtown Vancouver over the last month, you’ve likely noticed advertisements filled with cartoon-like faces spackled on telephone poles, bridges and even at SkyTrain stations. It’s the BC Lions' way of telling you that football season is here.
The Leos are getting set for their season opener Saturday at BC Place against the Winnipeg Blue Bomber and are hoping their latest ad campaign – where the slogan is “Nothing Rhymes with Orange” - will help put more bums in seats.
"It's a unique marketing term, and our goal this year is to aim at the younger generation and families and we’re looking for that younger crowd to join our existing fan base,” club president Rick LeLacheur told CTV News. “We have some unique characters starting with the head coach and Mike (Reilly), and Duron Carter, Bryan Burham, so we thought, why not use them!"
At first glance, the posters look more like a concert advertisement than one for a football team. It’s how the organization is hoping to connect with a younger, hip crowd.
“I just noticed one today,” said one man walking down the street. “It was “what rhymes with orange”. I thought it was pretty catchy, because I couldn’t figure out what rhymes with orange.”
For the players who’s faces are the ones portrayed in the ads, like quarterback Mike Reilly, they applaud the organization for getting creative.
“I think that’s what you have to do, you have to push the envelope, especially in a market like Vancouver,” Reilly told CTV News. “You have to be able to attract people and it takes more than just the product you have on the field because there’s so many other things to do in the greater Vancouver area.”
Getting the younger generation to invest in the CFL is an issue that spans across the league, and while some who have supported the Lions for decades are happy with the club’s latest strategy, they feel more needs to be done.
“I think we should do more,” said Lions Fan Club president Jenny Brittain. “In Saskatchewan, you see all the green there? Everything is green, doesn’t matter where you look, they are green all the time. So we need to take a lesson from them a do the same thing.”
The Lions are also hoping their new look team will also help bring fans to the stadium, as they promise to deliver a new, exciting brand of football.
“There’ll be a lot of celebrating, a lot of high fiving, one handed catches, we got two of the best one handed catchers in the league in me and Burnham, there’s nothing more you could ask for,” wide receiver Duron Carter said.
Fans can expect a new and improved in-game experience as well, that includes more fan interaction and a bigger 50/50 draw, which fans in B.C. can now purchase online.
Kickoff is Saturday at 7 p.m.