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Volume 24 No. 117
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It's Show Time: New NFL Ad Campaign Boasts Of League's Entertainment Value

The NFL during Chiefs-Patriots on Thursday night launched a new ad campaign that "promotes the entertainment value of the game as it grapples with a number of issues that have tarnished its brand," according to Alexandra Bruell of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The effort includes the tagline “Let the Show Begin" and portrays football as the "longest-running entertainment show on television." The first of four ads, via Grey, N.Y., debuted on NBC Thursday with Giants S Landon Collins, Broncos LB Von Miller, Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and Seahawks S Earl Thomas alongside original music by Miguel. The first spot "feels more like a TV show’s opening sequence than a football ad." Each ad in the campaign will "carry a different theme -- hope, unpredictability, drive and survival -- to show the drama that occurs throughout the season." Bruell noted past ads have been "more focused on showcasing the players’ personalities." NFL CMO Dawn Hudson "insists that the new strategy has nothing to do with driving tune-in, but she acknowledged that in recent years, the NFL’s brand has gotten tangled up in issues that take place 'off the field,' such as domestic violence." Hudson said the campaign is “decidedly younger” in voice, with the “movie-quality style” and original music (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/8). Hudson said, "When you're marketing a brand that's almost 100 years old, and you obviously have to pay great tribute to its history and what makes it strong, but you also have to work to make sure you surprise your fans and bring them something new. ... It's really important that we reintroduce the brand to the next generation." In addition to the four national ads, social media outlets "will be sprinkled with with personalized promos and behind-the-scenes footage for each of the 32 teams" (VARIETY.com, 9/7).

THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT: ADWEEK's Patrick Coffee wrote the minute-long spot "Hope" that debuted on Thursday "plays very much like a big-budget movie trailer or the opening sequence of a prestige TV show." It features "highlights and dramatic close-ups over scenic shots of football towns across the country," with Miguel "warning viewers to brace themselves for 'shock and awe'" (ADWEEK.com, 9/7).