THE WINNIPEG WHITEOUT.
What goes around, comes around…
The best ideas never really go away. They just hang around waiting for another opportunity to shine. And such was the case with Winnipeg’s beloved Whiteout. It was a Winnipeg tradition back in the days of the original NHL Jets, and it was one that thousands of diehard Jets fan were impatiently waiting to revive from the moment the team came back in 2011. They got their wish in 2015, creating a spectacle that was more electrifying than ever, and viewed in awe by the entire sports world.
Then suddenly, out of all the euphoria, came the question: Who started this?
Through the 1980’s, Rod Palson was creative director and account director of the Winnipeg Jets account at Palmer Jarvis Communications. Summoned to a meeting with Jets marketing to brainstorm ideas on how fans could make a statement at home playoff games, Palson sifted through all the chatter (which included the notion of asking fans to wear red, white and blue to match the home uniform). His recommendation was…”Wear white. It is completely unique and once we do it, nobody could ever duplicate it”.
So Jets fans were prompted to wear white….and the verdict was unanimous. The first home game of that playoff season – and every playoff thereafter – was a virtual whiteout. And the rest is history.
Speaking of history …Palson was also behind several other Jets promotions and initiatives over the years:
– Tuxedo Night. It was the first ever visit by the Montreal Canadiens to Winnipeg Arena on December 15, 1979. Thousands of tux’s, black-ties, business suits and fancy gowns were in attendance and the Jets proceeded to dump the Habs 6-2. But the real benefactor was Palson’s client, Malabar, who rented out more than 1500 tuxedos. (Interesting point of clarification: on the Winnipeg Jets memorial site, it states that this promotion was the “brainchild of Jets Marketing executive Marc Cloutier”. Fact is…he only jumped on board after the media had already whipped this whole promotion into such a frenzy, he could no longer ignore it).
Goals For Kids. Palson was at the forefront of creating a fundraising initiative that would eventually become the Jets official charitable foundation.
The new look in 1990. Palson was handed the responsibility of managing the entire process of developing the new team logo and uniform that was introduced in 1990.