Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2019

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Golden Knights star power delivers for advertisers in Las Vegas market


Courtesy of SNWA Facebook

Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves is part of a Southern Nevada Water Authority advertising campaign.

You’ve probably seen the ad by now. Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves obliterates some poor dude in his yard and tells him to change his watering clock.

The 15-second commercial by the Southern Nevada Water Authority has more than 66,000 views on Twitter, not to mention all the impressions from the TV, radio, billboard, print and digital campaign of which Reaves is now the face.

It couldn’t have gone much better for the water authority, the latest organization to cash in on featuring Golden Knights players.

“Without question, using the community’s recognition of the Golden Knights is definitely benefiting us in getting that message in front of them,” said Bronson Mack, water authority spokesman. “If we can get our target demographic to simply stop for just a moment and read that conservation message because it’s got a Golden Knights tie-in to it, that is outstanding for us.”

The water authority isn’t the only group to have a Golden Knight spokesman.

Las Vegas Athletic Clubs had a 30-second spot at the beginning of the season with William Karlsson working out in the gym. It was impossible to watch a Golden Knights game this year without seeing Deryk Engelland promoting Findlay Kia, and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare has commercials and billboards with Comprehensive Cancer Centers.

Each of the organizations has a different aim. The water authority is not advertising a product but trying to get people to change their watering clocks for the summer, whereas the athletic club is using Karlsson’s appearance as more of a reward for their existing members as opposed to trying to entice new customers.

“It’s something that our members enjoy, knowing that a fellow member is part of the team and part of the LVAC lifestyle,” company president Chad Smith said. “They really enjoy having somebody that they can personally cheer for, not just the whole team, but somebody particular on the ice that they feel connected with.

“Has it really made a huge difference as far as new people wanting to come to our clubs because of it? Not really. It’s more just a loyalty thing that our members have toward another person that’s involved in LVAC. Makes them feel like they belong more.”

Findlay Kia’s goal is the most traditional: to sell cars. Mark Olson, the general sales manager, said Engelland drives a Kia Sorento, which helps create a bond between potential customers and a famous athlete, particularly one who calls Las Vegas home.

“It’s crazy how much this city has embraced that team, especially a ‘Vegas born’ guy,” Olson said. “Most people think that when you get endorsements and they get this car, they don’t drive it, they give it to someone else. But at the end of the day, he absolutely loves it.”

The popularity of the team helps. The Golden Knights are beloved in Las Vegas, and partnering with the team or its players is a gold mine for organizations looking to get their message out. People remember Reaves destroying people on a commercial, but the ads are successful in getting people to think about changing their clocks.

“Companies do find the value as a way to reach the consumer, as a way to enhance the reputation of their product with different players,” said Frank Mahar, executive vice president of the sports consulting firm Genesco Sports Enterprises. “The company finds value because it’s a way to connect with that team’s fans in that market.”

If you enjoyed the Reaves commercial, there’s more on the way. The water authority filmed more commercials with him to release as the water authority moves from summer to fall and into the winter watering schedules.

So, remember to change your sprinkler clocks. Or the Golden Knights’ bruiser might hurt you.