Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets imitate Blue with branded licence plates

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The Winnipeg Jets are about to lift a marketing strategy directly out of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' playbook.

Winnipeg Jets specialty licence plates will be available Dec. 12, the province announced today. The plates will cost $70 with $30 of that fee going toward the Winnipeg Jets True North Foundation, the provincial government said in a press release.

They can be ordered at any Autopac outlet.

The Winnipeg Jets plate is the third specialty plate issued by the province. In 2004, Manitoba approved the issuing of a specialty licence plate to honour veterans. Earlier this year, Winnipeg Blue Bombers specialty plates were offered for sale.

One provincial insider said he believes the demand will be strong for the Jets licence plates and doesn't think the team's recent troubles on the ice will have a negative effect.

"I don't think enthusiasm will be dampened. People are still pretty excited about the Jets. I think the uptake will be pretty big," he said.

Blue Bombers licence plates were a "huge success," according to the football club's director of media relations, Darren Cameron. The team sold out all 8,100 -- the number was chosen in honour of the Bombers' 81st anniversary -- in less than two months.

"The licence plates gave our fans another way to show their support for the club. I notice them everywhere. You see them all over the city," he said.

Bombers players have seen the support, too, he said.

"Our players and our organization appreciate it. You notice that kind of thing. The fan support in this province is second to none," he said.

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Peter George, chief executive officer of McKim Cringan George, a Winnipeg-based advertising agency, said he thinks the licence plates are a "great" idea.

"I can't believe how many of those Bombers licence plates I see around. You see them everywhere. People love that stuff," he said.

The licence plate popularity is really no different than fans outfitting themselves in hats, T-shirts and other paraphernalia adorned with team logos, he said.

"They like to associate with brands that are meaningful to them and help them define their personality," he said. "It's great exposure for the team. People want to be associated with everything that's great that's going on. That's why everybody wants tickets and is wearing the T-shirts."

Cameron said it's too early to say if the Bombers will offer a second round of team licence plates.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 15, 2011 A7

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Updated on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 12:22 PM CST: Adds update after announcement of plates, adds fact box

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