|2007 Reebok What's Your Colour? 5" X 7" Ricky Ray Autograph Card, front & back|
Beginning in either 2003 or 2004 Reebok became the league's official uniform outfitter partner and began producing some marketing display material for use in team stores and athletic shops across Canada. The first of these campaigns that we will examine here was titled What's Your Colour? from 2007 and featured one player from each of the then eight franchises.
Henry Burris (CAL), Ricky Ray (EDM), Matt Dominguez (SSK), Milt Stegall (WPG), Dave Dickenson (BC), Jessie Lumsden (HAM), Anthony Parker (TOR) and Anthony Calvillo (MON) were pictured on two-toned posters and autograph cards. A colour poster of the group composition was also produced and can be seen in this earlier post.
|2007 Reebok What's Your Colour? (unknown size) Henry Burris Display Poster &|
Matt Dominguez and Jessie Lumsden 5" X 7" Autograph Cards, fronts
The following season the slogan became "Your Move, Play by your own rules" and once again large posters and small autograph cards were produced, presumably the autograph cards were occasionally made available at team events where the players were participating.
Interestingly the Montreal cards are in French and more than one Alouette is known to exist so the total number of players that had items issued in the promotion is unknown. Also curious is the interchangeable usages of either the older (more basic) or the newer (more complex) Pro Players CFL Players Association logos on the items.
|2008 Reebok Your Move 18 1/2" X 26 1/2" Ricky Ray Display Poster &|
Jeremy O'Day, Anwar Stewart and Anthony Calvillo 5" X 7" Autograph Cards, fronts
Some of these marketing ideas overlapped seasons so starting in 2008 and extending into 2009 the "This Is Our League" branding was used. The Stampeder image below is an actual poster so presumably these would have been produced as well for each team as digital advertising featuring other players is known, but no small autograph cards from this season have surfaced.
|2009 Reebok This Is Our League (unknown size) Henry Burris and Wes Lysack Display Poster &|
Paris Jackson and Doug Brown digital advertising images
Various other posters and life sized cardboard player standups with the tagline "The Authentic Outfitter" were also produced around this same time period. In 2010 the "Reeinspire", "Reedefine", "Reediscover" competition pitted 16 CFL player's motivational stories against each other via online fan elimination voting.
John Cornish eventually won the final vote versus Darian Durant (whose hard backed poster can be seen at the same earlier post link noted above). Exactly how many of these 16 players were issued as the Reediscover large format posters is not known.
Late 2000's Reebok The Authentic Outfitter (unknown size) Weston Dressler Standup &
2010 Reebok Reediscover (unknown size) Jeremy O'Day Standup sized Hard Backed Poster
Besides Cornish (CAL), Durant & O'Day (SSK) other players known to have been part of the promotion were Wes Lysack (CAL), Casey Printers & Anton McKenzie (BC), Ian Logan & Fred Reid (WPG), Patrick Kabongo & Ricky Ray (EDM), Andre Durie (TOR), Marwan Hage (HAM) and Anthony Calvillo (MON). Three additional players, one each from the last three teams also participated.
The old Reebok CFL site at www.reebokfootball.ca now redirects to somebody's personal non-football blog so the digital history of these sorts of activities is fleeting, here one day and gone the next.
2014 Reebok CFL Signature Alouettes, Argonauts & Redblacks Digital Artwork
Fast forwards to 2014 and the "CFL Signature Uniform" campaign produced digital artwork to promote the new jersey designs. There is no indication that any actual physical memorabilia was produced for that season but because information on the web is so impermanent it actually makes some sense to "collect" these sorts of images while they are still available in order to preserve this history.
Adidas took over as official CFL outfitter for 2016, 2017 & 2018 and New Era did the same for 2019 and going into 2020. Probably their digital marketing artifacts are still out there on the internet for some indeterminable period of time.
|2016 Shaw (5" X 7") Mike Reilly & Ricky Ray Autograph Cards|
Another of the current partners of the CFL is Shaw Communications based in Calgary who in 2015 became the presenting sponsor of the Grey Cup. Because of the overwhelming trend towards digital and away from physically printed ephemera, it was a pleasant surprise to discover the Team Shaw autograph cards on ebay a few years ago.
The cards were distributed at the Grey Cup festival venue Shaw corporate booth (or tent) which was set up like a simulated locker room. Each of seven different players had scheduled signing windows in the days leading up to the championship game.
|Manny Arceneaux shown signing his|
2016 Shaw (5" X 7") Emmanuel Arceneaux Autograph Card
Players from the two teams playing in the Grey Cup (Calgary & Ottawa for 2016) were not a part of the promotion as they were obviously occupied with preparation for the game. I am only aware of the three cards shown, so that means four more were produced for Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Montreal and Hamilton.
|2019 Shaw (5" X 7") Bo Levi Mitchell Autograph Card, front and back|
For the 2019 Grey Cup player caricature cards were made available at the Grey Cup festival in the same manner. From what I could tell only maybe a few hundred of these cards were produced for use during the lead up to the game so unless you are in the Grey Cup city at the right time these are not easy to come by.
|2019 Shaw (5" X 7") S.J. Green & Henoc Muamba Autograph Cards|
The players on Team Shaw for 2019 besides Mitchell included S.J. Green (TOR), Henoc Muamba (MON), Mike Reilly (BC), Trevor Harris (EDM), Manny Arceneaux (SSK) and Brad Sinopoli (OTT).
|2019 Team Shaw simulated locker room at the Shaw tent at the Grey Cup Festival|
(with New Era jerseys)
Whether this promotion only began in 2016 and was also run in 2017 and 2018 is not known, but it seems pretty likely that it probably was so there could very well be another 14 different cards out there distributed in Ottawa in 2017 and Edmonton in 2018.
Since Winnipeg and Hamilton were contesting the 2019 Grey Cup neither Andrew Harris nor Luke Tasker were signing autograph cards at the tent. But they did have caricature illustrations prepared for them so who knows whether or not Shaw might have had cards printed for promotional distribution in each of their own team cities.
|2019 Team Shaw informational display regarding Brad Sinopoli's signing schedule &|
player caricatures of Andrew Harris and Luke Tasker
As this post illustrates paying attention to who the CFL is partnered with and monitoring their promotional activities can pay dividends for CFL collectors who are looking for obscure, unusual and odd-ball material to augment their collections. Thanks to Mike Smith-Knutsen and Warren Welte for a couple of the images used above.