Why Hellmann’s made a cooking series with the Montreal Canadiens

Hellmann’s welcomed hockey season last week by releasing the first episode of a three-part YouTube series titled Cooking with Legends in partnership with the Montreal Canadiens.

In each episode, host Tony Marinaro of The Sick Podcast interviews a different Habs legend while he cooks a Hellmann’s inspired recipe and chats about his experience in the league. The brand says the conversations cover the “secret sauce” of the Habs fandom: from its rituals, to its legends, the Bell Centre, and game day eats.

Created by Edelman, the YouTube videos are being promoted through social advertising with the media buy handled by PhD Media.

Giving Quebecers a glimpse into the personalities—and the meals—behind the success of their home team helps Hellmann’s create a strong association with the Canadiens’ fan base, said Edelman’s chief creative officer, Anthony Chelvanathan. “The Habs are a team with legacy and history, and so as the Edelman team was developing the creative way in for the campaign, we knew we needed to tap into this unique standing that the team has not only within the NHL, but Quebec culture.”

By incorporating Hellmann’s recipes into the videos, there is also a direct push to purchase the product for game day recipes.

Marinaro, was selected to host because he’s an “affable and knowledgeable constant across all episodes, guiding the conversation, pulling insights, personality and legendary stories out of each guest,” said Chelvanathan.

The first episode stars Habs captain Nick Suzuki, who, at 24-years-old, is the youngest captain in the team’s history. Marinaro introduces him as a “hockey legend in the making,” and together they make a Hellmann’s recipe called “disappearing buffalo chicken dip,” which Suzuki admits he’s more likely to eat after a game than before.

During the seven-minute episode, the two discuss what inspired Suzuki to pursue professional hockey, his inclination for hosting get-togethers, the snacks he serves when he has people over, and his hopes for the near future (which, not surprisingly, include eating the dip at hand).

“The Habs franchise has a long and storied legacy, and as the captain, fans want to know what’s behind the energy, drive and passion I’m bringing to the ice to bring the team to victory,” said Suzuki in a release.

The next episode of Cooking with Legends will feature former Montreal Canadiens player and coach Guy Carbonneau making “cheesy garlic pull apart bread.” That will be followed by a final episode featuring the team’s long-standing announcer Michel LaCroix making “corn with a kick” on Nov.23. Each of the recipes can be found on Hellmann’s website.

Meanwhile, the Hellmann’s and Montreal Canadiens partnership will carry through a broader OOH campaign, going live throughout the month in shopping centres, subway stations, and Quebec’s downtown core, including the billboard right outside of the Bell Centre. The creative will repurpose assets from the Cooking with Legends to showcase the game-day inspired recipes.

Emma Johnston-Wheeler