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Inside every slab of stone is a monument waiting to be unveiled

How do you brand an international art competition without hinting at a winning aesthetic? By inspiring the world’s greatest artists while capturing the hearts of a nation.

Summary

Over two decades, a group of celebrated hockey players and passionate fans came together with a single purpose: to create a national monument commemorating the gift of Lord Stanley of Preston to the people of Canada—the Stanley Cup, the championship trophy awarded annually to the winner of the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs.

This is serious business. A lot of people have dedicated their hearts to this.

LSG Board Member

A national art competition

Lord Stanley Memorial Monument Inc. (LSMMI), led by acclaimed Canadian architect Barry Padolsky, set out to design and erect a monument in downtown Ottawa to mark the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup in 2017. LSMMI hired Stiff to develop, coordinate, implement and execute a complete, overarching communications strategy that ultimately included the Lord Stanley’s Gift visual brand, design competition website, monument website, media strategy and youth outreach plan. It was a strategy crafted to engage the world’s best artists, excite the Canadian public and educate young people.

Explore the Cup

Provides an active timeline that tells the story of each Stanley Cup victory. The information varies by year, but generally includes the team name and roster, video footage, a photo gallery, series overview, and total Stanley Cups won by the team.

About the gift

Details the history of Lord Stanley and changes to the cup throughout the years.

Experience the monument

Encourages people from around the world to visit Ottawa and see the monument firsthand.

Brand as blank slate

We created a visual identity that conveyed the historic significance of the Stanley Cup, respected the dignity of the office of Governor General that Lord Stanley held when he made his historic pledge, and inspired dozens of artists across Canada and around the world to exhibit creative and technical excellence on par with the athletic prowess of those who compete for the Stanley Cup. At the same time, we ensured the identity did not prejudice or influence the ideas and inclinations of prospective artists.

The visual brand and design competition website showcased the monument as an opportunity for artists and designers to engage their full arsenal of talents to create what promised to be a highly popular piece of public art. The visual brand in particular captures that once-in-a-generation opportunity and its inherent creative potential. It evokes the presence of the monument itself—a stark pillar of rough stone, a figurative blank canvas that hints at work that has yet to begin.

This is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. And that’s a good thing.

Barry Padolsky, upon seeing the logo for the first time

A public art installation goes digital

We were also challenged to build a monument website that met the needs of the monument’s diverse partners. Canadian Heritage wanted the site to educate Canadians about the history of the Stanley Cup and its central place in the history of professional hockey. The City of Ottawa expected the website to excite the public and position the monument as part of Canada 150 celebrations. The National Hockey League and the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club needed the monument website to be an information resource and enhance the experience of people who visit the completed monument.

In designing and building a website that ultimately satisfied the needs of these partners, we created three key sections:

Design competition website

  • Number of applicants to the worldwide design competition: 65 (benchmark was 20)
  • 12,000 views over eight months
  • 32% bounce rate
  • 3 minutes at 4 second session duration

Monument website

  • 4,400 visitors
  • 5,800 sessions
  • 22% bounce rate

Public engagement

  • 300 visitors attended the competition launch
  • 600 visitors attended the unveiling of the monument
  • 1,150 visitors who viewed the competition finalists’ vernissage
  • 469 students participated in an interpretive panel design competition (benchmark was 400)
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No jargon. No BS. Just clear thinking and straight-talking.

Inside every slab of stone is a monument waiting to be unveiled

Preparatory bombardment. Effective fire. FragO. Even the best narratives sometimes need interpreting.

No jargon. No BS. Just clear thinking and straight-talking.

Inside every slab of stone is a monument waiting to be unveiled