Wearing Their Hearts on Their Sleeves: Traction Factory’s Milwaukee Admirals Jersey Design

It was a hockey season unlike any other in Milwaukee. On the cusp of the fast-paced game, where muscle met ice and fan passion was tangible, a silver lining of human kindness and social advocacy shone through. The Milwaukee Admirals and Traction Factory—a cutting-edge advertising agency—drafted a playbook that transcended the rink’s perimeter, touching lives across Wisconsin. Their joint strategy was as complex as any coach’s game plan, but the goal was simple: to elevate the Special Olympics Wisconsin (SOWI) with their work. As you delve into the story, witness how an engaging sports spectacle collided with a noble cause, transforming the Milwaukee Admirals into advocates and Traction Factory’s innovative creative into a powerful tool for change.

By: Scott Bucher

Work that thrives at the intersection of art and commerce and makes a difference in the community we call home.

The Milwaukee Admirals are the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL Nashville Predators. Our assignment with this project was to increase awareness of Special Olympics Wisconsin (SOWI), a nonprofit partner of the Milwaukee Admirals, over the course of the 38-game home hockey schedule. 

Collaborating with the team, we developed a three-part strategy to drive this initiative: (1) Traction Factory designed limited-edition, league-approved, game-worn collectible Admirals jerseys that were auctioned online with proceeds directed to Special Olympics Wisconsin; (2) Messaging supporting Special Olympics Wisconsin was seen three times per game through branded messaging on one of the team’s Zamboni machines at 38 home games at UW Panther Arena; (3) Traction Factory partnered with the Admirals Power Play Foundation to contribute funds for every power play goal scored during the season (branded promotional in-game announcements were a program component). Funding was used to support Special Olympics Wisconsin programs across the State of Wisconsin. 

The comprehensive program reached 200,000 Admirals fans, drove $30,000 in contributions benefitting 7,000 athletes in Wisconsin with intellectual disabilities, and through the creation of the collectible jerseys, created compelling messaging that will be seen by Admirals fans beyond the season —meaning the reach of the program will extend for years. 

The SOWI partnership with the Admirals is the fourth specialty jersey initiative Traction Factory has had the good fortune to be engaged in. Pairing the crazy talent of our teams with a community-minded and engaged organization like the Milwaukee Admirals is one way we live our mission to leave the world better for having been here.

Credits: Brandon Tuschkowski – designer

David Brown – design director

Tom Dixon – copywriter

Jenni Klafka – production artist

Headshot – Scott Bucher, president

Social Media: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube

To see other Advertising 2023 winners, click here. To enter our Advertising 2024 competition, click here.

Author: Graphis