Canucks ‘super fans,’ including PunJohnny Canuck, will highlight billboard campaign (with video, gallery)

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

It’s all about the Canucks fans this season.

PepsiCo Beverages Canada and the Vancouver Canucks have partnered up and chosen “super fans” to represent their upcoming Live for Now campaign.

Vancouverites Mohan Singh Vinning, also known as PunJohnny Canuck (the East Indian Johnny Canuck), Amie Nguyen, once dubbed “Queen Canuck,” and the well-known Green Men, Force and Sully, have been chosen as the super fans and will be seen in their very own billboards across the city this April.

They got together Friday at The Warehouse Studio downtown for some A-list treatment — decked out in fan gear to have their photos taken for the upcoming campaign.

“I had a blast,” said Vinning, adding it was the first time he’s ever received such star treatment.

Vinning describes himself as a “die-hard” Canucks fan — his bedroom walls covered in newspaper clippings and posters.

“My whole wall — you cannot see any paint within my room,” he said.

It was only last season he decided to take his fandom to the next level after seeing an East Indian man decked out in B.C. Lions gear.

“Orange turban, orange beard — everything,” said Vinning. “Just a total fanatic.”

“Why not make a PunJohnny Canuck and have an East Indian type character?”

So Vinning decked himself out in his PunJohnny Canuck gear and hit the Stanley Cup playoffs in Vancouver last year.

“I was actually by myself that day — I just wanted to go celebrate downtown (and) just the response I got from it,” he said. “Might as well just run with it.”

Vinning plans to get a YouTube channel up and running and put out biweekly videos recapping the games.

“It’s not just our generation that’s all crazy about the Canucks — older generations and everything, too,” he said.

“You see grandmas who come to Canucks games.”

So he wanted to do something by “making a staple character for more the East Indian community or any other ethnic group as well,” he said. “Something they can relate to.”

As for Amie Nguyen, she was just “born into the world of hockey and Canucks.”

“I just remember sitting in front of a TV with all my cousins, all my aunts, all my uncles, my parents just watching hockey and ever since then it’s just kind of built up,” Nguyen said, decked out in a Canucks toque, T-shirt and even Canucks-themed fingernails.

“I just represent all the time. I’m all about city patriotism and stuff so Canucks just naturally takes precedence over everything else.”

As for the Green Men’s Force and Sully, they saw themselves as a “natural fit” for the campaign.

“We represent this team as much as we can on the road,” Sully said from behind his green spandex.

“Not many people would go to Boston up against the Bruins fans in full body spandex.”

“This is awesome — we’re obviously super fans because we’re two idiots in green suits,” added Force. “No one ruins their dignity and integrity like we do on a daily basis.”

While PepsiCo Beverages Canada’s global Live for Now campaign often features superstars like Beyonce, the company decided on a more local focus for the West Coast.

“In Vancouver, we chose to bring it to life through the eyes of passionate Canucks fans who are quintessential representatives of the city, its spirit and culture and who truly embody the Pepsi Live for Now’ spirit,” said director of marketing Robb Hadley. “Pepsi wanted to uniquely celebrate the Canucks through their most visible and celebrated fans.”

And for Canucks COO, Victor de Bonis, that’s “the best part.”

“Pepsi is recognizing that the Canucks fans are representing the city and the culture and our spirit, and they’re doing something within our local market with a connection to the Canucks,” he said.

“The campaign is about showing a real fan, and how they uniquely celebrate our team. And the tag line ‘our team our way’ is really a fan tag line — it’s not necessarily a team tag line.”

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute


Canucks super fans


Picture 4 of 9

Pepsi has chosen three Canucks ‘super fans’ — the Green Men: Force and Sully, Johnny Canuck and Amie Nguyen — to be the subject of its latest billboard promotion. Here they are participating in a photoshoot at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver on Feb. 22, 2013. Les Bazso/PNG

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