SBJ/September 3-9, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Star turn: Jones featured in New Era NFL ad

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones chooses a Cowboys NFL sideline cap over a traditional 10-gallon cowboy hat in one of a bevy of TV ads for New Era, the league’s new on-field cap licensee, debuting this week for the new football season.

In one of a series of ads from ad agency Brooklyn Brothers, the autocratic NFL owner summons an employee who is wearing a cowboy hat, string tie and oversized belt buckle. “It’s the hat, son,” says Jones, bedecked in a New Era Cowboys cap. “We only wear football caps now.”

The ads will break on NFL Network before
Wednesday’s league opener, in which the New York Giants will host the Cowboys atMetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Other ads in the “Laboratory of Headwear Science and Capology” campaign feature Buffalo defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs, New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, and wide receiver Eric Decker of Denver. The majority of New Era’s TV spending is on NFL Network
and ESPN.

“We’re targeting the hard-core fans to make sure they know there’s a new official cap for their favorite league and they are made by someone who specializes in headwear,” said Braden Dahl, who heads New Era’s NFL marketing, adding that even before the TV campaign and NFL sidelines serve as powerful selling
tools, sales of NFL caps have already exceeded projections. With no more Nike-Reebok apparel rivalries on field, the days of Nike players refusing to wear the NFL’s cap of choice are over, except in a few cases, like the Manning brothers’ continued affiliation with Reebok.

New Era, longtime holder of MLB on-field cap rights, now has exclusive NFL sideline cap rights for the next five seasons.

“On field, our hope is that the cap is now considered just part of the uniform,” Dahl said. “For consumers, we’re telling the story of a technical cap with a traditional look.”

To support its new NFL rights, New Era has installed fixtures at NFL team shops and cemented club sponsorships with teams including the Bears, Bills, Cowboys, Packers, Steelers, Giants and Jets, the last two of which are being supported by a new New Era store on the 100 level of MetLife Stadium.

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