Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Champ Curling

You may have noticed a particular ticket package available at various major Canadian curling championship events: The Champ.

You can get The Champ at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Victoria, February 21 to March 1; the Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary, March 7-15 and also at the Ford World Men’s Championship in Moncton, April 4-12.

What you might not have noticed is some pretty cool branding aimed at tempting you to grab these ducats, and get your butt out to some tremendous live curling.

World champ Jennifer Jones was shipped to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club back in September for an outdoor shoot, filled with sunshine and bright blue water backgrounds.

World champ John Morris, meanwhile, was hauled out to Trilogy Studios in Calgary in October for a grimy, sweaty, indoor boxing shoot that suggests you don’t want to mess with the Mo.

You can check out more of Morris’ Champlike efforts online at the Tim Hortons Brier website while Jones’ seafaring ways are located at the Scotties TOH site.

To hear what both athletes said about the photo shoot, well, you’ll just have to grab a copy of the imminent January edition of The Curling News, which you can purchase via subscription right here. Johnny Mo, in particular, is quite funny.

Canadian Curling Association CEO Greg Stremlaw commented that both Morris and Jones were more than merely accommodating.

“Both athletes were true to form of the characteristics that set elite curlers apart from those in other sports,” said Stremlaw.

“I mean, they were totally co-operative to the point they were thanking us for the opportunity to be a part of it.”

There is also a branded campaign underway for the super-big 50th anniversary Ford World Men’s in Moncton, and it is more lighthearted: local hero Russ Howard and curling funnyman Guy Hemmings can be seen clowning around with various props and headgear on the Ford Worlds website.

The Champ is essentially two specially-priced ticket packages that allow you to get the maximum enjoyment out of the final weekend playoff action at these big events.

For all three majors – the Scotties, Brier and Worlds – The Evening Champ consists of three weeknight draws – the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – plus the entire playoff round on Friday, Saturday and Championship Sunday.

The Weekend Champ goes hard on the Thursday – with all three climactic round-robin draws that day – right through the full playoff draws.

There are, of course, other packages available… from full Event Passes to Rocks In Your Socks, a “stocking stuffer” package sold only in pairs for either the full opening weekend or any of the first three weekdays (Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday) of morning and afternoon action.

The Champ Scotties photographer was Al Harvey of Vancouver. Art Director was Rob Glennie of Winnipeg. Concept development by Rod Palson (In House Strategies) and Rob Glennie.

The Champ Brier photographer was Grant Waddell, with art direction from Brad Bell of Calgary. Concept development by IHS and Brad Bell.

Anything else?

• Did you see this National Post feature on Russ?

Well, guess what. The old wheezer did indeed beat ex-teammate Wayne Middaugh in the quarterfinals yesterday before losing to Bob Ursel in the semis, and suddenly the guy with zero points now has a 2010 Olympic dream... and with his son at second stone, no less.

Ursel, by the way, went on to beat Kevin Martin in the final...

Marie-France Larouche won the big dealio in Ottawa and has now won five of six tournaments this season ...

• And Mike McEwan is also on a roll, and has knocked fellow ’Pegger Jeff Stoughton out of the Canada Cup. Stoughton, who almost beat Brad Gushue in the 2005 Olympic Trials final, may now miss next year’s Trials entirely ...

• DID YOU KNOW: that the CCA is paying for Sean Grassie and Allison Nimik, one-half of the Canadian Mixed championship team, to go to Camrose this week? The appointees will take the opportunity to learn more about Mixed Doubles before they compete in April’s world championship in Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy ...

• And finally, some enterprising Germans have modified Reebok’s popular training shoe for curling ...

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