SBD/June 4, 2012/Franchises

Dolphins Squash South Beach Glitz, Focus Marketing Efforts On Football, Tradition

The Dolphins have “developed a ‘brand identity’ to help set a new direction,” and the team’s new marketing campaign has “three magic words: Iconic. Vibrant. Meaningful,” according to Ben Volin of the PALM BEACH POST. The franchise in recent months has “embraced social media, tried to become more transparent to the public and actively sought to reconnect with a community turned off by the club's lack of success.” Several members of the team’s front office have joined Twitter. The Dolphins also have “reached out to their season-ticket holders, whose numbers are believed to have tumbled into the 30,000s, almost half of the 61,000 the team announced it had" before the '06 season. Dolphins fans "were united in their feedback: The Dolphins needed to focus more on promoting their rich history and the players on the field, rather than a supposed South Beach party atmosphere, the ‘Orange Carpet’ for the glitterati, and celebrity partners such as Marc Anthony, Fergie or Serena and Venus Williams.” The Dolphins’ TV commercials this year, "which will be in heavy rotation in August, emphasize football and tradition.” The team’s commercials in ‘09 and '10 “featured dance music, flashing cameras and phrases like ‘South Florida's biggest party.’" One of this season’s commercials features OT Jake Long “sitting in a bathtub of ice for 30 seconds,” while another “features new coach Joe Philbin at 11:47 p.m. sitting in his office.” A third spot “shows three generations of Dolphins fans enjoying a tailgate -- the grandfather wearing a Larry Csonka jersey, the father wearing a [Dan] Marino jersey and the young son wearing a Reggie Bush jersey.” Volin notes some critics have called the Dolphins' decision to appear on HBO's "Hard Knocks" reality series "another example of style over substance.” But the Dolphins view the show as the “perfect representation of what they're trying to accomplish -- promoting the game of football and the players on the team” (PALM BEACH POST, 6/3).

IT'S THE HARD KNOCK LIFE:’s Peter King cites sources as saying that Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross “did not influence the decision for the Dolphins to welcome HBO and NFL Films” into training camp for “Hard Knocks.” Ross reportedly “wanted the Dolphins to do it, but left it up to" Philbin and GM Jeff Ireland. Sources said that Ross “had given up on [the] chance of it happening because it just wasn't Ireland's cup of tea, and Ross didn't want something that would likely be very good for the marketing of the team (and ticket sales) to overshadow what Philbin and Ireland wanted to do.” But Philbin “went to Ireland and told him he'd actually like the spotlight of the show to help his team focus, and to show off that what the team is doing is right, and that the players are ready for prime time” (, 6/4).
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