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Pens Launch New Marketing Campaign

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins
With the Penguins set to begin training camp at the sparkling new CONSOL Energy Center on Friday morning, the team announced its marketing campaign for the upcoming season – “Destiny Has A New Home.”

The Penguins came up with the catchy new slogan through a partnership with the creative advertising agency GatesmanMarmionDrake+Dave, Inc.

While at first glance this initiative appears designed to showcase the Penguins’ spectacular new facility, there is a deeper, more optimistic message that celebrates the team, fans and city which make this region unique to any other. “Destiny Has A New Home” also fits in with what the Penguins’ brand stands for: energy, innovation and drive.

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“This year the talk is optimism,” said Dave Kwasnick, the lead creative director of the South Side-base advertising firm who helped the Penguins formulate this campaign. “Not only the optimism of the team, but the optimism of the fan-base and the city itself. People feel good about themselves and they feel good about the future of the city and they feel good about the Penguins. The crest on the players’ chests embodies that.”

“The Penguins’ brand is all about drive, energy and innovation,” said James Santilli, the Penguins vice president of marketing and sales. “We went back to those roots because we knew that didn’t change. Some of the brand characteristics are classy, humble and first-class – which reflects the personality of our ownership group led by Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, and our fans.

“I think this campaign fits in perfectly to the audience we are preaching to. The people we are preaching to are aged 21-to-39, so they weren’t here when the steel mills shut down. All they know is today’s Pittsburgh. We are celebrating a high-paced, fast game – and that’s the same way that these fans live their lives.”

Kwasnick began working with the Penguins on this new campaign in February. With the team moving into a beautiful new home, the Penguins marketing department believed the timing was perfect to come up with a new thematic to replace last season’s “Defy Ordinary” slogan.

Following a few meetings with Penguins management, Kwasnick and his staff came up with about 12 different proposals, but “Destiny Has A New Home” stood out right from the get-go.

What separated this tagline from the others, besides the optimism it portrays, is the simplicity of the message, and the series of advertisements that accompany it allows fans to use their imagination to envision the great things we expect from the franchise without the Penguins being bombastic is any way.

“We don’t want to be promising anything,” Kwasnick said. “We are not going to say this is going to happen right now. At the same time, for a franchise that has a great foundation, there are going to be a lot of great things that happen in this building. The words on the teasers are meant to reflect that.

“It’s not saying banners are going to be raised here on this date. They are playing off the storied nature of the franchise and the optimism that is propelling it into the future. Yes, everybody is pretty confident that there are more banners to be raised and more greatness to come. This season is going to have a lot of amazing moments. It’s easy to mirror it with who is going to be great and amazing – guys like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury.”

Thanks to a past history that is rich in excellence with 13 scoring titles, five MVP trophies and three Stanley Cup championships, and a current core of players which features some of the top talent in the game, it’s not hard for fans to envision future championships and iconic moments without the Penguins plastering that thought with images of the Stanley Cup.

“We wanted to be very respectful with our creative pieces,” Kwasnick said. “We didn’t want to go around posting pictures of the Cup everywhere. There is a bad mojo that comes with doing that. Such an attitude also isn’t consistent with the first-class reputation of the franchise.”

Speaking of consistency, one constant you will see throughout all of the creative advertising pieces is the presence of the glass atrium, or spine of the building.

While the “destiny” theme was not meant to singularly focus on CONSOL Energy Center because that would take away from what the Penguins are trying to sell on the ice, this is the first season for the new facility, and the spine fits in perfectly with the connection the Penguins are trying to make between the team, building, city and people.

“The spine is really the signature element of the building,” Santilli said. “It works really well to look in and see all of the great things that are happening in the building when you are outside the arena, and then you can look out to see all of the great things that are happening in the city when you are inside.”

“This is one of the biggest years in the history of the Penguins franchise with the new building opening, so we wanted that to be a part of it,” Kwasnick said. “We didn’t want it to overshadow the team itself. We didn’t want the arena to become bigger than the team that is going to embody it.”

Because the Penguins plan to use this campaign to further reach out to the young fans that have helped make the team one of the most popular and successful franchises in all of professional sports over the past five seasons, look for digital billboards, street banners and commercials on social media sites and areas where young people travel often.

“You will see these in urban areas and transit centers where people are going about their daily lives, in addition to Facebook and Twitter, where the teaser campaign drew a lot of speculation and interaction,” said Ross Miller, Penguins director of marketing.

Also, just because the Penguins have announced their “Destiny Has A New Home” campaign doesn’t mean the end of “A Great Day For Hockey.”

Just like the car maker BMW, which uses the slogan “Ultimate Driving Machine” to describe what they stand for in addition to having campaigns for each line of car they produce, “A Great Day For Hockey” is going to remain a Penguins tagline for the foreseeable future.

No matter how often “destiny” strikes, when the Pittsburgh Penguins take the ice, it’s always going to be “A Great Day For Hockey.”

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