The Interminable Stupidity of “The Oiler”

The NHL’s marketing department has had a pretty good month, all things considered. The Winter Classic was largely a success. HBO’s 24/7 helped raise the profile of the game in the United States and added depth to the outdoor game.

On the other hand, the “Guardian Project” is one of the worst ideas ever, right up there with Frankenstein’s monster and Jay Leno in primetime.

Despite the terrible, terrible foundation laid by previous Guardians (the King, the Penguin, the Hurricane, the Flyer… I’m sure the reader can spot the NHL’s incredibly creative naming paradigm without assistance), “The Oiler” may be the worst of the lot. I recognize that the project is meant to be appealing for children, but even so it’s pretty bad. Let’s survey the unveiling article.

The highlight of the article for me was this delightful quote from Oilers President & CEO Patrick Laforge:

“We love our new “Oiler” Guardian character and thank our fans for starting him off with a win. Oil Country loves to win at everything we do.”

I’d like a copy of that quote, perhaps on a stylish poster of the Oilers’ new Guardian with the team’s record over the last four and a half seasons subtly embossed in the background. Of course, the cognitive dissonance inherent in such a poster would be potentially fatal, but that just adds to the charm.

Also lending his name and voice to this article was Tony Chargin, the EVP of GME Creative Affairs. Chargin’ Tony described the copper and blue and red monstrosity in this manner:

“The Oiler’s power to create blizzards seems appropriate for him considering Edmonton is the NHL’s northernmost city. Beyond that, he can sense oil deposits in the ground, can suck them up with his pump, refine them in the portable refinery strapped to his back and uses the converted (green) energy to power his cannon.”

Leaving aside the inherent ignorance of the actual oil refining process manifested here (after all, I wouldn’t want to be nit-picky) my favourite part of the quote is the inclusion of the word “green.” I suspect the brackets mean some PR flack over at Oilers HQ inserted it into the quote in the name of political correctness, but I love the notion that a superhero who blasts his opponents with “torrents of energized oil” is “green.”

Finally, there’s a Biblical reference ensconced in the article’s description of the hero that I felt was noteworthy: 

“He’s a modern day Cain constantly searching for the wisdom that he’s certain the frozen north has to offer.”

Cain of course was the first murderer, killing his brother in a jealous rage. He was subsequently banished and became a wanderer of the Earth, marked so that any who found him would not kill him in return for his actions. I’m assuming it’s the lesser-known wanderer bit that the narrator was going for.

And yes, I recognize that this is just a largely irrelevant marketing campaign aimed at children, but there’s no reason I should be subjected to that kind of stupidity without comment.