Everyone is loving the fan-generated parody NHL playoff commercials that are popping up on the web. Puck Daddy has a post with some of the best of the bunch that are out there. The only one that's missing is "What if Darren Puppa had worn a back-support belt?" Ok, not the only one that's missing, but it's one that long time Bolt fans can understand.
Yet, honestly, this viral web phenomenon raised a question for me... It's not just a big question as-so-much a reflection and reminder.
In comparison, where do the "History will be Made" parodies stack up against the Rory Fitzpatrick All-Star campaign?
If your immediate reaction to the above question is "Who?" then I can say with certainty that you are not alone. Long time bloggers, web-heads, general hockey fans and Rory himself know who he is: a journeyman defenseman that's currently playing for the Rochester Americans and had stints in the NHL over his career. He's a veteran of 287 NHL games. Not a standout, not a household name.
Rory is the stuff of legends, though.
In the fall of 2006, an All-Star write-in campaign for Fitzpatrick started in earnest online, beginning first on message boards and then carrying over to the blogosphere. It was both an attempt to game the All-Star fan voting as well as rally for a cause. It was a joke, it was a parody, but some of the related viral campaign videos that popped up on YouTube at the time trumped what the NHL had offered at the time in the way of marketing.
I see the similarity in the "History will be Made" parodies. It's both a love of the game and the creativity and humor of fans. A mocking of the establishment but an endearment to memories -- those fans love and those fans love to hate. The majesty and the infamy all rolled up into one ball of LOL.
Of course, Rory himself was embarrassed by the campaign... And the traditional media didn't take kindly to it either (CBC, National Post, and the NHL itself). It was putting down the entire fan-balloting process of the All-Star game that is supposed to be empowerment for the fans. Of course, it also exposed the rampant ballot-stuffing that goes on yearly, where play is superseded by franchise-love. This was a mocking of the process and yet any one-team stuffing the ballot for their players isn't a mocking of the process?
In comparison, the "History will be Made" parodies are more fan rallying cries (or decries as the case may be in the Sabres related video) and nostalgic reflections of fans in general in markets all across the continent. Bitter reflection in some cases, but reflection none the less.
The fact fans have spent so much time and effort putting together these video creations for either campaign shows their devotion to the sport, sense of humor, and creativity.