Taking Enterprise’s Content Strategy To New Lengths With An Original Documentary Film

“The Road Through Warroad: Hockeytown USA™” was a first for Cannonball and Enterprise – a 30-minute original documentary film that premiered on NBC Sports, serving as the finale of the network’s Hockey Day in America broadcast.

Our film tells the story of Warroad, Minnesota, a small town of less than 2,000 people that has produced seven Olympic hockey players, five NHL players and more than 80 Division I college players, and was the focus of a recent Adweek Article.

"Our evolving content strategy is all about telling stories that are emotionally rich and moving."

— Lee Broughton, vice president, Enterprise North American Brand Marketing

“The idea that there’s this tiny, out-of-the-way town near the Canadian border that has produced so much hockey talent really captured our imagination right away,” said Lee Broughton, vice president, Enterprise North American Brand Marketing. “Our evolving content strategy is all about telling stories that are emotionally rich and moving. It’s part of our never-ending quest to be not just relevant, but deliver stories that pick people up emotionally and help place Enterprise top of mind and heart with consumers. Warroad is just that kind of story, and we jumped at the chance to bring it to life for a national audience.”

Cannonball is Enterprise’s creative agency of record and develops digital video content around the brand’s strategic passion pillars of sports, music and travel. We brought the Warroad story to Enterprise as part of our annual content calendar planning presentation.

The Warroad story was originally envisioned as a roughly four-minute piece connected to Enterprise’s NHL sponsorship, introducing viewers to the town and its unprecedented hockey history. While shooting, we discovered so much more to the story we knew viewers would love to see. After the initial shoot, we developed a 30-minute outline of the film and shared it with Enterprise, who eagerly sent us back to Warroad to fill out the story.

Meanwhile, Enterprise and Cannonball shared the project with NBC Sports, who immediately showed interest in broadcasting the story as a 30-minute documentary short.

The result is a groundbreaking advertising model – a 30-minute broadcast piece that is a brand-funded, agency-created, non-commercial short documentary film worthy of airing on a national sports network. As part of the deal, Enterprise retained rights to limited commercial interruption during broadcasts, and two Enterprise :30 spots per broadcast.

The fact that NBC Sports views our film as compelling broadcast-worthy content is exciting for the brand and our agency.

The documentary delves into what makes Warroad different from other hockey towns, identifying unique factors like “free ice time” (youth teams in many cities pay over $200 and hour for ice time) and pro stars who come back to Warroad to coach, run camps, and encourage the next generation of hockey players.

Two such stars featured and interviewed in the film are Olympian and current Washington Capitals player T.J. Oshie, and two-time Olympic Silver medalist and current Boston Pride player Gigi Marvin. Oshie and Marvin graduated from Warroad High School together in 2005, and both represented Team USA at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

“The Road Through Warroad: Hockeytown USA™” will continue to air on NBCSN, and you can currently stream the entire film at NBCSports.com , where you can also watch additional videos and browse profiles of the people featured in the film.

We produced this film with our partners at Bruton Stroube Studios.

The Backyard Rink
Original 4-minute Video

Results

– The national broadcast premiere nearly tripled YAGO time period rating, and almost doubled the network average (including live sports)  – From a social/digital standpoint, NBC Sports saw 10x views over previous high water benchmark on Facebook, doubled and tripled all pre-existing unit interaction and viewership benchmarks, and saw 5-10% higher video completion rates, regardless of length

­- NBC Sports now considers this campaign their gold standard and template for content distribution