The Canadian Football League has launched a new marketing campaign for the 2022 season, but teams can’t trumpet it in hashtag form quite yet.
On Friday, the league unveiled a campaign centred around the slogan “Let ‘Em Know,” designed to unify CFL fans across the country and around the world.
Unfortunately, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders found out shortly after the announcement, the new campaign will be somewhat limited in its launch on Twitter. That’s because #LetEmKnow was also the slogan of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, who used it all last season. All tweets with that hashtag automatically receive a Cavaliers logo as part of the social media network’s “hashflags” feature.
The hashflag is reportedly set to expire on June 2, just a little too late for the launch of the CFL’s marketing push.
“After two tumultuous years caused by the global pandemic, this is our rallying cry,” commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement. “Let ‘Em Know is more than a call-to-action; it’s a show of pride shouted from the rooftops and it’s a challenge to our passionate fans, our world-class players, our amazing clubs and our incredible partners. We’re proud of this league and we know you are, too.”
“This season is our opportunity to don our colours, show that pride, and open our great game to new fans and new possibilities.”
The season-long campaign was developed in partnership with Toronto-based independent creative agency trevor//peter, whose past work in Canada includes collaborations with Diageo, Red Bull, Nike and more.
The creative direction was informed and validated by the CFL’s work with global marketing research firm, Hotspex, whose clients include TikTok, RBC, and Under Armour, amongst others. Their in-depth analysis served as the basis for the league’s largest and most comprehensive brand audit, though it appears to have missed the hashtag conflict.
“We set off to better understand our fans and Let ‘Em Know is the first step towards the culmination of that journey,” said Tyler Mazereeuw, chief revenue and marketing officer of the CFL. “Our research and insights show a fanbase that’s fierce in their loyalty and they’re ready to roar. Let ‘Em Know sets the stage for them to be heard.”
The voice of the campaign will be Cadence Weapon, whose real name is Rollie Pemberton. The Edmonton-born, Toronto-based rapper, producer, writer and poet is the grandson of Canadian Football Hall of Famer Rollie Miles, who won three Grey Cups as part of Edmonton’s dynasty in the 1950s.
“The CFL is in my blood, and it’s also in my heart as a fan of Canadian football,” Weapon said in a statement. “I know CFL fans and I’ve felt their energy in the stands. It’s time to come together, to proudly wear that passion on our sleeves and to Let ‘Em Know.”
The former Poet Laureate of Edmonton (2009-2011) and the winner of the 2021 Polaris Music Prize for his album Parallel World is known for incisive, socially conscious lyrics and will serve as a bridge from past to present for CFL fans.
The campaign’s reach will extend not only through CFL teams and partners’ digital channels but also internationally. The first commercial for the Let ‘Em Know campaign can be viewed below.