@LAKings Tweet Sends Thin Skinned Canucks Fans Into Tizzy

 

Following the team’s victory over the Vancouver Canucks in the first game of the Western Conference Quarterfinal on Wednesday night, the Kings official Twitter account (@LAKings) tweeted an amusing, trolly joke. The joke – seen above in a screen shot – comically referenced the well worn "the Canucks aren’t Canada’s team" narrative, and did so in a way that wasn’t offensive, classless, cheap or inappropriate.

This wasn’t a comment about Kesler’s diving, it wasn’t a tweet editorializing about Bitz’s injurious hit on Kyle Clifford, and it wasn’t a comment about what happened in last years Stanley Cup Finals. This was a harmless joke about the – frankly indisputable – fact that the LA Kings have picked up some news fans this week who will root for the team at least through this series. 

Of course Canucks fans, fresh off of watching their team lose a postseason game and feeling particularly sensitive, promptly reacted to the tweet as if it was something offensive and juvenile. It’s playoff time, baby!

Read past the jump!

The reaction of Canucks fans was nonsense, there’s nothing unprofessional about this tweet, quite the opposite. While the joke may not have been subtle, I think the choice of the Kings’ official account to tweet something thumbing their nose at the Canucks, and playing up their "lovable underdog" status, makes good sense from a communications standpoint

Part of why, I think, the tweet was jarring to so many Canucks fans, is that the Canucks official Twitter account (@VanCanucks) would never say something like that. There’s several reasons for this, and while I’m not familiar with the particular strategies or goals either club’s marketing team employs, I do work in the social media field and common sense can be pretty instructive here.

For the Canucks, and their official twitter account – the team is far and away the most prestigious professional sports brand in town. Whitecaps FC (MLS), the BC Lions (CFL) and the single A Vancouver Canadians all enjoy solid local support – but in Vancouver, hockey reigns supreme. The Canucks are an unparalleled sports marketing force and as such, one should expect that their Twitter strategy would be lower-risk than one that the Kings official account might employ. 

Secondly, the two accounts are almost certainly targeted at different demographics. For @VanCanucks, folks like me (cynical mid-20s dudes, who spend a fair chunk of their disposable income on live sporting events) aren’t the target audience – we’re already in the bag. Instead @VanCanucks is about engaging more widely with casual fans, and putting a personal touch on team marketing. They do it very well, certainly as well as any other NHL club.

For the @LAKings account, however, getting noticed is essential. The Kings are the third most prestigious tenant in their own building! They share the Staples Centre with Kobe and Lob City, and overall they’re maybe the 6th biggest ticket in the LA sports market (behind the two NBA clubs, the Dodgers and USC college football and basketball). For the Kings, it’s not easy to convince 25 year old sports fans to spend their hard earned dollars watching Darryl Sutter’s brand of hockey, when that money could be spent paying to see Chris Paul throw slick alley oop passes to Blake Griffin.

For the King, the postseason is a tremendous opportunity, and they’re right to try to stir the pot, and generate excitement in this fashion. Think about it, what better way to promote an underdog eighth seed facing a well known, and widely loathed juggernaut than with a couple of cheeky jabs? Not only is the tweet a totally harmless way of conveying a sense of defiance, but it’s also like a dog-whistle to the Albertan hockey fans who are rooting against the Canucks (and thus for the LA Kings over the next couple of weeks), "hey guys, welcome aboard."

If you’re working in Social Media, what’s "professional" is doing what effectively promotes the brand you’re representing. The LA Kings Twitter account got more play out of riling up overly sensitive Canucks fans tonight, than it has probably ever generated at any point in its existence. They’ve made "news", they’ve driven conversation, and they’ve taken on a manageable level of negative attention to do so. It’s ballsy, but effective, and I applaud them for going beyond the pablum most official team accounts more regularly serve up.

The best part? The account is happily, and politely mocking those overreacting to their trolly tweet:

  • Dmac

    In the 1970’s, most outside Phillie hated the Flyers – they had players and a style that was easy to hate. For some reason, hating the Canucks has become fashionable. People don’t have to think much about it – the biting, the diving, the riots. There are other factors at play as well in Canada – and a lot of it is irrational and stupid. But it is easy/lazy and in a sense conformist to hate the Canucks! So embrace the hate, or ignore it … and hope the team plays with more discipline, effort and poise on Friday.

  • Dmac

    Actually a pretty well timed tweet too since this would probably get whatever spare space is left over in Eastern Canadian media who are busy touting the Ottawa Sens series and bashing the Habs/Leafs for their high level of golfing skill.

  • “For the Kings, it’s not easy to convince 25 year old sports fans to spend their hard earned dollars watching Darryl Sutter’s brand of hockey…”

    Umm…the Kings had 38 sellouts this year. Not as hard a job convincing fans as you think.

  • It’s a tweet.

    Canucks fans need to grow a thicker skin. Nobody has ever liked teams that win. Even respect for the Red Wings was begrudgingly given when it seemed they were steamrollering into the finals each year.

    Argh. I give us a small pass for the way Canucks fans have suffered with heartbreaking close calls. But get over the angst people. It’s the playoffs. Everyone is full of it, including us. Once you realize this, you’ll have more fun. You might even enjoy that the attention and jibes are the greatest form of flattery the hockey community could ever offer.

  • The LA Kings Twitter account is being run brilliantly. Engaging fans, playing up the rivalry, and completely worth following. There is no good reason to be upset with this. Instead, ask the same of your team’s Twitter account, assuming the person running it has enough personality to make it fun.

  • Oh Canucks fans, grow a set. Canada doesn’t need to laud you and the fact that there are rivalries and people who don’t like your team should only make you prouder to support them.

    I thought the tweet was hilarious, hilariously accurate and entirely brilliant.

  • Mantastic

    I’m pretty surprised that it’s an “official” tweet. I could understand just the one, but it’s since devolved into a pretty personal set of tweets. It seems the tweeter has pretty thin skin too. Whatever. Tweeting is a pretty silly form of communication. Just another case of objectionable posters hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. But this playoffs I choose to not listen to HNIC again — PVR, pause, Shorty on the radio from now on rather than listen to Craig Simpson create his own brand of reality. Totally off topic, I know.

    • Mantastic

      There’s no difference between a tweet and reply to blog post so you’re partaking in the same form of communication right now. Once you strip away what the platforms are you’re communicating in the same fashion!

      To this tweet.

      There is so much right about this Tweet I don’t even know where to begin! Nothing wrong with a rivalry in any form of business and hockey is a business.

      All of a sudden it’s not ok for hockey teams to smack talk over the internet? They do it every day on the ice and in the media!

      I’m sure this garnered a bit of a attention and got a few RT’s in the process. Nothing wrong that.

  • NuckfiSh

    As long as @LAKings apologizes to everyone in Canada outside of BC when they fail to knock the Canucks out – then I don’t see anything wrong with it either.

    Game 2 Friday.

    Believe.

  • NuckfiSh

    I appreciate the insightful post on this, but I keep wondering where the scoring chance and stats recap is. Will there be one?

    For the record, I found the LAKing tweet pretty hilarious b/c it wasn’t just a fan talking smack, but an organization.

  • NuckfiSh

    Do Nuck fans really wonder why everyone outside the lower mainland hates them so bad?You have to look no further than Lappiere,Burrows or Kesler.IF you still cant fathom it go to TSN sometime a have a look at what SOME canuck fans say about other CANADIAN teams.On a side note plywood and fire extinguishers went up 15% today .

  • Milli

    I am deeply offended by this tweeet! I live in BC, not Vancouver. And I think they tweet should have been “To everyone in Canada outside of Vancouver….your welcome!!!!!”

  • NuckfiSh

    I don’t want to read about silly tweets! Where is the chance data and stats? I’m guessing it wasn’t pretty, and I’m hoping for a better turnout next game, but I’m still curious!!