In the five years since the blockbuster 2016 trade between the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators that saw them swap star defensemen P.K. Subban and Shea Weber, there has been endless debate about which organization won the trade.
With barbecue season just around the corner, that debate has spilled over into duelling ad campaigns, with Weber Grills Canada (you probably already have a sense of where this is going, right?) facing off against one of its chief rivals, Napoleon.
Weber was first off the (grill) mark earlier this month, with a new video spot developed by Quebec agency Gendron Communication featuring the Canadiens’ polarizing general manager Marc Bergevin.
After a series of shots showing vegetable skewers and steaks being placed on a Weber grill, the lid is closed and viewers see that Bergevin is the chef. He looks directly at the camera, smiles slyly, and says in French, “I’ve always known that Weber was the right choice.”
Bergevin was pilloried by the notoriously tough Habs fans in the wake of the Subban trade, but with injuries having slowed the former Norris Trophy winner (who was traded to the New Jersey Devils in 2019) in recent years, the general consensus is that Montreal actually came out ahead.
Napoleon, meanwhile, recently responded to the Bergevin ad with a sponsored Instagram post starring Subban bearing the message “To all the ‘Grills’ I’ve loved before.” In the accompanying text, Subban introduced the Napoleon Phantom grill as his “new love.”
Subban had previously appeared in a 2019 billboard campaign for Weber that featured his smiling face above the company’s nameplate, accompanied by the phrase “J’aime mon Weber” (I love my Weber).
The NHL star and his former partner, U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn, shared their enthusiasm for plant-based eating at the beginning of the year, but the Napoleon video shows him throwing a couple of thick steaks onto the grill.
It’s probably just as well that he didn’t opt to go full vegan. Given his newest role as a barbecue spokesperson, it could easily have been a big missed steak for the charismatic NHL star.