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Nova Scotia benefits from ads during outdoor NHL game

by Roger Taylor, Business Columnist, published on Friday, January 8, 2009 4:46 AM

NOVA SCOTIA may be benefitting from some recent media exposure, albeit as a byproduct of a couple of high-profile ad campaigns for U.S. companies.

Viewers who tuned in to the NBC coverage of the National Hockey League’s outdoor Winter Classic in Boston’s Fenway Park on New Year’s Day probably saw hockey star Sidney Crosby in an advertisement for a new Reebok T-shirt.

The ad was more like a short film in which Crosby introduces the world to his Nova Scotia hometown. Beginning with a drive across the Macdonald bridge and including a shot of a fishing village, the viewer is eventually brought to Cole Harbour and the Crosby family home where, as a kid, Sidney famously dented the family clothes dryer while practising his shot.

Later, in the basement, Sidney and Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Maxime Talbot take part in a little game to see who can put the most pucks into the famous dryer.

During the same commercial break, up popped an ad for Cisco Systems featuring famed Nova Scotia actor Ellen Page, and set in the historic town of Lunenburg.

She drives up in a little sports car and is greeted by a fictitious Mayor Wayne who gives her a tour of town hall. Page is brought to a room where a police officer is peering at several screens, presumably employing innovative Cisco technology to monitor the town, but Page quickly exits when she realizes her car is about to be ticketed.

The ad was one of a number of Cisco commercials shot in Lunenburg around Thanksgiving last year.

Page reportedly wanted to have the ad campaign situated in her home province. Although the production company was shown pictures of Lockeport, where Page lived originally, and of Chester, Mahone Bay and Liverpool, the people in charge reportedly fell in love with picturesque Lunenburg.

Laurence Mawhinney, the real mayor of Lunenburg, said although his town shows up very well, there hasn’t been a noticeable increase in inquiries about Lunenburg from outside Nova Scotia — not yet, anyway.

"They certainly spent a fair bit of money here during the time they were in town. It was quite a big production," he said, adding the money from the production company was used to upgrade playground equipment in the town. But the real Lunenburg doesn’t have the system in the commercial, acknowledged Mawhinney.

"I presume Cisco can provide that kind of monitoring system, if it’s required.

"I think every community would like to have something like that. It would make the policing of the community much easier if you had your parks and your activity areas monitored that way. But that’s for a larger community to do rather than Lunenburg."

He said the town will probably put up some links to the www.cisco.com website, where the ads may be viewed, but the mayor doesn’t know if Cisco would link to the town’s site, www.explorelunenburg.ca.

Lunenburg is already a familiar location for filmmakers, Mawhinney said. The new film Moby Dick was shooting around the Lunenburg Foundry at about the same time the Cisco commercials were being made in the town.

Page has been unfairly criticized as a sell out by some for signing up for the Cisco job. But no one criticizes sport stars like Crosby, who are linked to various sponsors.

Besides, Page isn’t lending her name to just anybody. Cisco is a quality organization and the commercials reflect that.

Crosby and Page should both be commended for being proud of where they come from. Not everyone in the past has felt that way.

Source: thechronicleherald.ca