By Allan Muir
I'm guessing the millions of dollars Budweiser spent in Canada on its latest marketing campaign wasn't geared toward creating a demand for a Blue Light. But a giant, spinning red one atop the country's tallest building timed to coincide with the home team lighting the lamp? That'd be just fine.
Bud's massive Red Light promotion is credited as the inspiration behind a change.org campaign to turn the top of the CN Tower into a flashing red beacon every time the Maple Leafs score during the playoffs.
Gotta admit, it's a pretty savvy idea to combine a buzzy campaign with the city's premier landmark to celebrate Toronto's first trip to the NHL playoffs in nearly a decade. Too bad the Canada Lands Company, the crown corporation that owns the tower, doesn't seem to share the enthusiasm of Scott Booth.
It was Booth, a marketing grad from George Brown College, who came up with the idea and posted the online petition when the Leafs clinched a berth. Here's how he set it up on change.org:
Question: How can we show the world just how big of fans we really are, while also paying our respects to the boys in blue who got us here, and uniting the entire city, allowing them a way of following along with what is sure the be a very exciting playoff run?
Answer: WITH THE BIGGEST GOAL LIGHT OF ALL TIME: THE CN TOWER!!!
But seriously, imagine how incredible it would be to see The CN Tower Light up RED every time Toronto scored a goal! IT WOULD BE AMAZING!
A little heavy on the caps and slammers, but he makes a good point, right?
Unfortunately, a CLC spokesman told The Toronto Star they already have a different plan in mind. "The CN Tower will light Leafs' Blue each night the Toronto Maple Leafs play a playoffs game. If we have a previous commitment we will light blue at the top of each hour for 12 minutes...Again this was already planned for this exciting time for our home team! This is the tribute we are choosing to make. We appreciate the enthusiasm!”
Sounds like the idea is dead, right? I'm not so sure.
The playoffs don't start until Apr. 30, so why agree to anything now? The smart play is to let the grassroots campaign take hold, get more people fired up and keep the idea percolating in the press. A week from now, the whole city is behind it...and maybe even a sponsor or two (even though they're part of the same company, can't you see Budweiser and Labatt fighting over this?). Make the announcement just ahead of Game 1, and everyone wins.
Really, it's too good an idea to pass up. Way cooler than slapping a jersey on a statue. Although that's really swell too, Detroit. The petition won't make it happen, even if Booth reaches his target of 50,000 signatures, but it won't hurt, either. Even if you're not a Leafs fan, it's worth a minute of your time to vote. Never know what your town might do to up the ante next year.