Amstel Light Knows Its Hockey Audience

Those who know me would agree that I’m a big Blackhawks fan — even through the lean years.  There’s a certain energy that goes with this game full of speed, grace and power that can’t be found anywhere else — especially during playoff time.  Plus, hockey fans are a tight group.  We know who we are, and we know how to communicate with our tribes.  Newcomers are respected and appreciated, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know that their background is limited.

This camaraderie among fans is partly why I feel Amstel Light’s new TV commercial is so good, even though the spot never shows or mentions hockey.

You see, this year the Blackhawks introduced a new song that gets played every time the team scores (except when Kane, Toews or Sharp scores, then they play songs unique to their names).  According to John McDonough (Blackhawks President), Chelsea Dagger, a 2006 song by The Fratellis (band from Glasgow) was selected for it’s unique energy, but the crowds early on weren’t overly impressed early on and the sound technician thought long about changing it.  But McDonough held tight and said to give it some time.  Good thinking John.  By mid-season, the catchy “duh, da-da-duh, da-da-duh, da-da-da-de-da) was being sung by over 20,000 people after every score.  But outside of the United Center, few people if any even heard of the song.

Enter Amstel Light, and their attempt to market their beer to hockey fans.

Anyone who saw the Blackhawks score this year (unless it was Kane, Toews or Sharp) will easily identify the song — and likely recall the beer after watching the spot because by using the same song, they got our attention.  Then by cleverly building on the “Dam” in Amsterdam visually, they get their message into our heads.  And isn’t that what advertising is supposed to do — get the attention of a select, targeted group (in this case, hockey fans), and attach your message to one that they already know (in this case, the good feeling of listening to that song when the only time they would’ve heard it would have been during those joyous moments after a goal).

All that’s missing is a link to something where rabid fans can connect with each other — and Amstel Light.  And that’s a big mistake.  Why they would not carry this to the next level is beyond me.  Maybe their agency only knows how to make good TV spots?

Anyway, well done Amstel Light.  And thanks for talking our language in Chicago.

Go Blackhawks.


  1. April 25, 2009

    GO BLACK Hawks. Lets hope they win Game 5 tonight and Game 6 and move on to the next round for Sir Stanley’s cup.


  2. Jamie
    April 27, 2009

    Haha, this article made me laugh. You are right on when you say they know how to connect with Blackhawks fans without having to actually say anything about them at all. My boyfriend and I were watching TV this weekend and this commercial came on and he pointed out that this is the same song they play at the Blackhawks games when they score goals and that he loves it. They are definitely using this to their advantage and I ALSO applaud them for such a job well done.

  3. Kevin
    May 12, 2009


    WSCR AM 670 was talking extensively about this connection this afternoon!


  4. July 12, 2009

    I guess I agree with you but maybe if you explained it just a little more I could learn more. Thanks in advance.

  5. July 13, 2009

    I’m not sure what needs more explaining, but I’ll try.
    Amstel Light was targeting hockey fans. Rather than talk hockey or show hockey, the agency tied into the fan’s experience by showing people having fun, Amster-dam style, while a little heard song played to support the spot. This little heard song was heard often ONLY by those who visited the United Center to watch the Blackhawks play. The song is only played when the Blackhawks scored a goal (which is, of course, a euphoric moment). Amstel associated their product with this euphoric moment simply by using the same song that is played when there is a goal.
    Make sense?