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NFL UNITED IN ITS WAY WITH CHARITY
Published October 19, 1994
The NFL-United Way PSA's that run during every NFL broadcast "have become a Sunday fixture, memorable for showing football players helping others, often in situations richly layered in emotions." The spots, which "have raised millions for the charities of the United Way," usually feature NFL players speaking about community projects or personal tragedies they have confronted. The league donates $48M of air time each season for the spots, which reach "an estimated 80 million people each weekend." Annual donations to the United Way have increased from $800M to $3.05B since the campaign began 21 years ago. Mario Pelligrini, who has produced, directed, and written each of the 750 PSA's: "We're not selling soap or beer. We have no intrinsic product. All we have is the thing that's inside every person -- the compassion, the caring about other people, the love of kids. We have to touch that. ... The spots have the highest recall of any spots on NFL telecasts. And we're competing against beer commercials that cost millions of dollars" (Bruce Adams, S.F. EXAMINER, 10/18).