This cheeky ad for fitted pants has a lot of people watching the replay
The slow-motion, sweeping close-ups shots of an NHL star’s ‘hockey butt” as he squats his way through an ad for fitted dress pants has turned into a viral hit. (State and Liberty/Instagram)
TORONTO -- The slow-motion, sweeping close-ups shots of an NHL star’s “hockey butt” as he squats his way through an ad for fitted dress pants has gone viral.
State and Liberty’s tongue-in-cheek Instagram video ad, which uses strategically placed views of Detroit Red Wings’ center Dylan Larkin wearing stretchy pants, was dropped last week, timed with the start of hockey season.
The spot opens with Larkin confessing he suffers from “hockey butt” the term used to describe how he and other athletes can "have relatively small waists, and big quads, and big thighs, and a big butt."
"I know a big problem that a lot of athletes and hockey players have is shopping for pants," he said.
"I can't really buy a pair of pants off the rack to fit me," he said. "Even when I get a pair custom-made, I can't move around and stretch in them. Every time I bend down I feel like I'm going to bust through the seams."
Of course, as he’s saying this, he performs deep squats, lunges and thrusts in slow-motion. And people online are lapping it up, sharing dozens of memes, reactions including one person tweeting, “I can’t believe all it takes is a good hockey butt for me to lose all track of coherent thought.”
Another person tweeted, “this is the kind of targeting marketing I want to see from the NHL.”
One video of the ad on Twitter has garnered more than 2.2 million views and the Michigan-based clothing company -- which has been around since 2015 -- is loving the attention.
'DYLAN HAS BEEN A GREAT SPORT ABOUT IT'
In a phone interview with CTVNews.ca, Shawn Stephenson, State and Liberty’s Canadian director of sales chuckled, “I don’t think we were expecting the attention we’ve received … it’s certainly resonated with a lot more than the hockey community.”
As for the attention from people online praising the ad, Stephenson said, “Dylan has been a great sport about it … and that kind of recognition for him and our brand has been amazing.”
Although, he admitted the jokey nature of the spot, Stephenson insisted Larkin squatting and lunging was what sales staff tell their regular customers to do in their seven U.S. stores and their one Toronto shop.
“So it’s definitely something we encourage our customers in our store to try out when they wear the pants,” he said. ‘But we certainly had a lot of fun shooting with Dylan.”
Kelly Samuel, social media director of internet marketing service Qode Social, wasn't involved in the making of the ad but felt it went viral in part because it grabbed viewers almost immediately.
"As a content creator or brand, you need to grab the viewer's attention in the very first three seconds. They did so through humour and a bit of sexual tension,” she told CTVNews.ca over Facebook. She also mentioned that a recent Marvel blockbuster may have played a part as well.
“It's good timing coming right after the ‘America’s ass’ joke that was so well received from ‘Avengers: End Game,’” she said, also adding that: “This ad likely went viral because it's so niche. In less than a minute, it introduced a very specific problem for a targeted group of people, and a solution.”
Several commenters on the video have pointed out there may be a bit of double standard as a similar ad prominently featuring female athletes' backsides might have been considered sexist.
Samuel noted that “with power shifting to more women in light of our current social climate, some of these kind of demeaning old tropes are being recycled for men, which ethically is a separate conversation, but isn't really a mainstream element we've seen so often in the media.”
'HOCKEY BUTT' IS A REAL ISSUE: STEPHENSON
Although the ad is on the lighter side, the company said athletes struggling to find fitted clothing isn’t a joke.
“The issue itself is definitely something that a lot of guys experience,” Stephenson said.
State and Liberty’s Instagram photos feature NHLers Mitch Marner, Alex DeBrincat, Carey Price and Brad Richardson, MLB pro Aaron Judge and praise from U.S. wrestler Kyle Dake, Stephenson wouldn’t comment or confirm on their customers or business relationships.
He did boast of having several Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings players wearing their clothing.