The truth behind bizarre beard in bank's brilliant hockey ad
Paul Henderson celebrates his goal against the U.S.S.R. during the 1972 Summit Series in Moscow. (Scotiabank/screenshot)
Years ago, Scotiabank came up with a clever tag line for an ad campaign that informed customers: “You’re richer than you think.”
Now, again courtesy of Scotiabank, long-retired Soviet hockey defenceman Yuri Lyapkin has discovered that he is, well, shaggier than he thought. Or anyone else thought for that matter.
You’ve seen that Scotiabank commercial during the recent World Cup of Hockey and regular-season NHL games. Called “Hockey Dreams,” it’s a clever campaign that features kids playing road hockey while recreating four of the most iconic goals in hockey history: Bobby Orr’s famous Stanley Cup-winning goal in 1970; Lanny McDonald’s goal and celebration against the Montreal Canadians in the 1989 Stanley Cup final; Mario Lemieux’s incredible goal against the Minnesota North Stars in the 1991 Cup final; and Paul Henderson’s historic goal against the Soviets in Game 8 of the 1972 Summit Series.
It’s the Henderson goal that’s perhaps the most iconic of all (often described as the most famous sports photo in Canadian history) and, for the purposes of the “Hockey Dreams” ad, the most bizarre.
If you watch the commercial closely, after the kid (who actually looks like a young Paul Henderson) scores the “Henderson goal” and they flash to the famous photo, there’s something very odd going on.
The photo is unforgettable — and there are two mirror-image versions of the famous picture by photographers Denis Brodeur and Frank Lennon. The shot features a jubilant Henderson celebrating with his arms in the air while being bear-hugged by teammate Yvan Cournoyer as Soviet goaltender Vladislav Tretiak lies on his back, beaten. On the right side of the photo is Soviet defenceman Lyapkin, skating away from the play, stunned at the magnitude of what just happened.
In the Brodeur and Lennon shots, Lyapkin is as clean-shaven as the day is young. But in the “Hockey Dreams” ad, Lyapkin suddenly has a full beard and moustache, and he no longer has a number on the side of his jersey.
In the “Hockey Dreams” ad, he’s not just a Soviet hockey player, he also becomes a secret agent!
Seriously, it seems bizarre that such a lucrative ad campaign would feature a photo of a guy with a beard and moustache scribbled on his face, when the reality is he sported neither.
The re-touched photo looks like the work of a bored high-school student, something he scribbled on the face of Sir John A. Macdonald during a long-winded lecture on the Fathers of Confederation.
It’s like, well ... imagine a Jamaican bank using a photo of Usain Bolt and Canada’s Andre De Grasse crossing the finish line at the 2016 Rio Olympics in an ad campaign and they’ve drawn a Kaiser Wilhelm-type moustache on the smiling face of De Grasse.
Joseph Bonnici, partner and creative director at Bensimon Byrne, the Toronto agency that put together the brilliant campaign, said he has been asked about the beard “once or twice before.”
“I think if you’re an incredibly die-hard sports fan and you start to look at the image, you sort of pick up on it (the beard drawn on Lyapkin),” said Bonnici. “But ... if we’re not able to communicate with the people in the photos, then it’s really difficult, we can’t actually get the rights to use their image, so — and we do everything by the book — if we can’t secure communication with them to get their imagery, then we need to sort of resort to other things to make it work for it.”
Hence the beard.
Bonnici emphasized that the photo is about glorifying Henderson’s goal and certain things had to be done in the name of legalities, copyright rules, etc. He added that they are extremely proud of the campaign.
“Lanny McDonald was literally moved to tears when he watched it with his family,” said Bonnici. “So, when you have someone like Lanny, who’s an icon, who’s as great a person off the ice as he is on the ice, react in that way, it’s pretty rewarding. We feel a responsibility to do these moments justice. These are phenomenal moments in hockey history and we had to do them justice.”
Bonnici said the campaign has been a major hit — with millions of hits and positive comments on Facebook, YouTube and other social-media sites — adding that Scotiabank is considering doing similar spots in other nations where the bank has a presence.
“There’s no reason why you couldn’t take ‘Hockey Dreams’ and make it ‘Football (Soccer) Dreams,’” he said. “It’s something we’re working on right now, as a matter of fact.”
Perhaps they’ll do a similar campaign in Russia and Photoshop a beard on Henderson while leaving Lyapkin clean-shaven. Veteran Russian hockey journalist Vsevolod Kukushkin told the Sun that he informed Lyapkin about the ad. (The retired defenceman hadn’t seen it).
“We can laugh together (at the photo) if we can get a picture (of it),” said Kukushkin.
Years ago, when Lyapkin was asked about “The Goal,” he said: “It turned out to be my worst nightmare. Now, all these years later, everyone knows that Paul Henderson scored when Yuri Lyapkin gave up the puck.”
Lyapkin can take solace that at least he’s disguised now.