SBD/January 31, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

NFL To Debut First-Ever Super Bowl Ad Emphasizing Player Safety

NFL ad takes viewers through the evolution of game’s rules and equipment
The NFL for the first time will use a 60-second ad during the Super Bowl XLVI broadcast "to address player safety, its most critical and sobering problem,” according to Judy Battista of the N.Y. TIMES. NFL CMO Mark Waller said of the decision, “It is your biggest stage, you’ve got a massive audience, a massive casual audience, and this topic is probably one of most important topics for casual fans, particularly mothers.” Battista reports the NFL spent “several million dollars on the commercial and the creation of an accompanying Web site -- nfl.com/evolution -- that will go online Sunday and give detailed information about the history of the game and various rules changes.” The decision was “initially met with skepticism and concern by some league executives.” Waller said that “among those who supported the idea,” were execs from the teams that will play in Super Bowl XLVI, Giants President & CEO John Mara and Patriots Owner Robert Kraft. The commercial, directed by Peter Berg, will be “shown during the final commercial break of the third quarter.” It uses “one long kick return as a way to take viewers through the evolution of the game’s rules and equipment.” But Battista notes nobody, “particularly the casual fan at whom the commercial is primarily aimed, will miss its closing message.” Ravens LB Ray Lewis says at the conclusion of the ad, “Here’s to making the next century safer and more exciting. Forever forward. Forever football” (N.Y. TIMES, 1/31).

HIGH FIVE: The NFL will air a total of five spots during the game. A 30-second spot airing late in the second quarter was created in conjunction with Microsoft's Xbox platform. There also will be a 30-second NFL.com fantasy football spot toward the beginning of halftime and 10-second fantasy football spots at the end of halftime and in the middle of the third quarter. The fantasy football spots, along with the player safety spot, were created by Grey, N.Y. (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
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