Ads on NHL jerseys really aren’t that bad

Is it understandable that the NHL now allows teams to have ads on their jerseys — or is it just greedy?

By now, everyone has probably seen the blue and yellow RBC logo slapped onto the Montreal Canadiens’ classic red jerseys. And it’s not pretty.

The National Hockey League (NHL) introduced ads on helmets last season, and now with the  NHL’s Jersey Advertising Program, some teams have decided to go with ads on jerseys too.

Like in any sport, hockey teams have sponsors. They have ads on the boards as well as on the ice, both painted and projected. Now with jersey ads, some are wondering how far the NHL is willing to go.

Will NHL jerseys end up looking like uniforms in Europe, where they have multiple ads on the jerseys, shorts, and socks?

I highly doubt it.

European teams need these sponsors to survive. NHL teams don’t.

However, hockey is a business, and if there is a way for teams to make extra money, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

While this isn’t the case for the Canadiens, a lot of teams made it work, including the Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Minnesota Wild.

But where do we draw the line?

Thankfully, the ad patches are an option when buying jerseys, so they’re avoidable.

Does it still look weird when you watch a game and see a blue patch on the Habs’ jersey? Absolutely. But will people get used to it? Eventually.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has ads on jerseys — barely noticeable ads — that are small and blend in well with the colours of their respective teams.

If the Canadiens had just made an effort to make the RBC patch less noticeable, it wouldn’t have received such a strong and negative reaction.

Fans even made designs themselves, and some are better than the actual patch the Habs chose.

In the end, whether we like it or not, we live in a capitalist society where everyone welcomes a bigger revenue.

As is the case for other kinds of ads, people will soon forget about these jersey patches and it’ll just become the new normal.

As long as one ad doesn’t become two or three in a few years, and that (hopefully) the Habs choose a more discreet patch next, Habs fans will come around.


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When I was 17, I hosted an ugly sweater party/gingerbread-making contest at my parents’ house. Yes, I was very hip.

I invited many classmates, dressed up in my cutest ugly sweater (excuse the oxymoron) and patiently awaited my guests.

The entire time I was waiting for my friends, I was thinking about the photos we were going to take. Would the lighting be good enough? Did I get the right colours of icing? What about the gumdrops? Will my Facebook friends think I am interesting and fun?

Although it was a nice evening and the company was great, I totally missed the point of having a gingerbread-making contest. I didn’t enjoy the community feeling of being together because I was stressed about what it would have looked like on the outside. My guard never came down.

Looking back at that situation, it’s easy to write off my naivety, cringing at insecure Callie and thinking about how lame I was but before we start bullying me, let’s take a second to analyze what was going on.

Trying to impress the imaginary audience, made up of my social media followers, makes me a product of the world we are living in.

As a society, we spend so much time making fun of social media influencers. I am right there with you, rolling my eyes at models and women promoting god knows what on social media. This being said—maybe it’s time to check ourselves.

No, I am not and never was a social media influencer. One time I did get 76 likes on a picture of a mango, but that’s beside the point. As we continue to develop in the online world, influencer culture rises, and as this culture rises, so does hatred and criticism.

Don’t get me wrong. Selling “skinny tea” and other harmful products that help enforce unhealthy beauty norms should always be criticized. We need to hold the Kylie Jenners and Cardi Bs of the world accountable for this damaging messaging. That being said—is that really what the majority of us are fighting when we criticize Instagram influencers?

Or are we just straight up making fun of (mostly female) influencers for making money from social media?

MEL Magazine writes, “Mocking women who earn a living from social media is easy, because ‘comics’ can rely on two useful audience pre-conceptions: First, that feminized labour isn’t ‘real work,’ and second, that women who leverage their sex appeal for social or economic gain are contemptuous.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is where I have been wrong in the past. In this rare and weird world of social media influencing, women are earning more than men. No, it’s not perfect. There are huge issues with portraying life as flawless, using photoshop and other filters to distort reality because young 16-year-olds think you’re their hero. Let’s stay focused on the harmful aspects of this job, and merely use it as another tool to oppress women.

We like to oversimplify things, but the reality is that a lot of good can come from influencer culture. Not everyone is 17-year-old me, losing track of what’s important.

Some people are out there making money off this platform, so maybe they aren’t the chumps we think they are. Among the toxicity of men and women, lie intelligent, nuanced personalities sharing real stories.

Psychology professor Danielle Wagstaff told BBC, “When we see that other people, just regular people, not necessarily celebrities or traditionally famous people, are living relatable lives – posting about their own body image and mental health struggles – it can help to create a sense of camaraderie, a feeling that ‘I’m not alone, other people understand what I’m going through’.”

So before we criticize the business as a whole, let’s lean in— #notallinfluencers


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Feminism is not for sale

As trendy as it is, the fundamentals of the feminist movement in no way translate to lotion sales, hair products or even a new pair of running shoes. Industries are taking the ideology of feminism and exploiting the heck out of it.

This is not new. We’ve seen this with many brands geared toward women. Whether its Nike or Dove, these companies have endorsed women empowerment, and it’s working for them. This isn’t to say that everything they are doing is wrong, but it is important to analyze the oversimplification of patriarchal structures that are at play.

Sometimes these messages are backhanded, anti-feminist ways to enforce beauty norms and sell products that will both empower you, erase your wrinkles and minimize your pores. Other times, these messages feel aligned with the core values of feminism and hit us right in the feels.

As we move forward, predictably, large companies selling products to women, move with us. When I watch a Nike Ad geared for women with an uplifting and emotional song playing in the background, empowering language and impressive glistening olympians, this is good advertisement.

It is masked by a message that makes me feel like I have agency and strength even though I know that Nike is just trying to make money. I’m hungry for this representation.

I know that companies need to understand the social climate in order to sell things, that’s how marketing works (after all, I took marketing 101 in first year). Perhaps this means that these feminist advertisements, though oftentimes hollow bandwagon tools, are more or less harmless, and I need to calm down.

First of all, don’t tell me to calm down. Secondly, let’s take a closer look at what modern feminism actually looks like. This movement was born out of necessity for human rights. It needs to encompass intersections of marginalized groups in society, such as racialized people and members of the LGBTQ community. These groups have been advocating for the rights of those around them for years. This is something that white women have been benefiting from, as they move through society with much more ease, representation and safety.

Inter-sectional feminism is not mainstream. The rights of non-white, non-cisgendered women are still largely lacking, stigmatized or pushed out of the main conversation. Ironically and unfairly, it’s because of the work of these communities that feminism has gained enough traction to be used commercially. This amplifies a pattern of exploitation and alienation.

Let’s get back to advertising. The reality is, it’s becoming cool to be politically correct. Historically people have hesitated to bring women’s rights to the forefront of mainstream media, but now it’s profitable.

If you’re thinking that this is the most obvious thing in the world, I urge you to observe the next time an ad comes out, with inspirational music and a tear-jerker narrative about a girl overcoming her oppression. We’re all guilty of retweeting it, making it our Instagram story, and being fooled by the companies who play a large part in our oppression in the first place.

Engaging in a feminist conversation takes energy and patience. It takes listening, learning and being humbled by the stories of those that are affected by gender inequality. It takes analyzing the system that causes the oppression. These industries are biting off more than they can chew. At the core, they are just selling products.

Listen, I’m not trying to take on every industry that ever used feminism in their campaign. Surely we can argue that some good probably has come from a Dove Beauty ad or a period commercial. I’m sure that within these trends lies some authenticity and people who actually care about this fight.

I just think it’s important to keep a critical lens and remember that at the end of the day, feminism is not perfect, still evolving and most definitely not for sale.


Photo by Britanny Clarke

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