New Instagram Campaign For CFL Roughriders Fans Asks ‘How Green R U?’

Most hardcore Canadian Football League (CFL) fans may not be up-to-date on all the latest tech news, but one new promotion from Saskatchewan telecom leader SaskTel is looking to bridge the two solitudes while sending a pair of fans to the Grey Cup.

SaskTel is organizing an Instagram campaign for the notoriously rabid and die-hard fan base of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, otherwise known as “Rider Nation.”

SaskTel has launched a province-wide digital and social media campaign to engage fans in ways the CFL club typically hasn’t done before. SaskTel for their part is also calling the campaign a “significant change in creative strategy.”

Members of “Rider Nation” are being encouraged to post their craziest photographs in Rider clothing and post to Instagram using the #HowGreenRU? hashtag. An online gallery will be formed and the grand prize-winning photo takers will win a trip to the Grey Cup in late November.

“The people of Saskatchewan are really and truly crazy about the CFL and of course the Riders in particular. Rider pride runs deep,” said John Ounpuu of Blast Radius, the Vancouver-based digital agency tasked with running the campaign.  “How Green R U? is about using the power and reach of the SaskTel brand to give voice to a celebration of football and home town pride that’s uniquely Saskatchewanian.”

The marketing push will use print, radio, outdoor, online and social media “and will blanket the province.”  It runs from mid-August through to the Grey Cup championship game, “in which the Roughriders hope to be victorious,” added the press release. The 101st Grey Cup in Regina promises to be a crazy and incredibly cold event this year.

Photo booths will be placed at events throughout the province, outfitted with Rider themed paraphernalia and backdrops like locker rooms, AstroTurf and green watermelons (which are synonymous with Rider Nation). Professional photographers will be on hand and assisted by special teams to help dress fans up in body paint, hats, wigs, and real watermelons (trust me, they really like their watermelons).

Saskatchewan possesses arguably the strongest fan-base in the Canadian-made league. It is generally agreed that when the Riders are doing well, the league in its entirety can be expected to perform well both financially and in popularity.

Fans have long been known to show up to games wearing outrageous green outfits, which is why the campaign makes so much sense. It appears that the Roughriders are taking advantage of a trend that several startups have recently begun tackling, that of encouraging fan engagement through social channels, in exchange for rewards.

One Canadian startup known for this is Thumble, the Toronto-based startup that emerged out of Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) program. Thumble launched back in late April in Canadian fashion, kicking off a major campaign. Users were encouraged to submit their best Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens fan photos for playoff tickets. The winning users ended up going to both teams’ first-round series.

It looks like SaskTel, the Roughriders and Blast Radius are using this trend to both boost fan engagement by 2013’s standards, and celebrate Roughrider heritage. The team played their first season in 1910.

“Blast Radius has developed a game-breaking campaign for us, which brings out the animal in our own fanatic employee fans, wearing their wildest green creations and rooting for the home team,” said SaskTel’s Janson Anderson. “We believe this will get the entire province behind us and make for a winning campaign.  And the Riders are very much on board with us.”