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Volume 27 No. 5
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NFL Tackles Police Shootings In New Ad Slated For Super Bowl

The NFL debuted an ad during yesterday's AFC Championship game promoting its Inspire Change initiative that put a spotlight on former NFLer Anquan Boldin's cousin, who was "shot and killed by a plain-clothes police officer" in '15, according to Hannah Winston of the PALM BEACH POST. The 60-second ad features Boldin, a co-Founder of the Players Coalition, telling the story of Corey Jones' death as "flashes of both a reenactment of the shooting and news clips of Jones' family in the wake of Jones' death are played." Boldin explained the Players Coalition's focus is on "police-community relations and criminal justice reform as well as education and economic advancement." The Inspire Change initiative was "created to showcase how those in the league work together to create positive change across the country." The initiative boasts more than $25M in grants that were "awarded to social justice organizations" (PALM BEACH POST, 1/20).

PROMINENT PLACEMENT: AD AGE's E.J. Schultz noted the spot will "run again in the Super Bowl," as the NFL "amps up its social justice messaging in the wake of the Colin Kaepernick controversy." The ad, via 72andSunny, L.A., marks the "most hard-hitting message put out by the NFL since it began pouring more energy into social justice efforts a year ago." By taking on the "highly charged issue of officer-involved shootings during the league's two most-watched events of the year -- the conference championship games and Super Bowl -- the NFL risks stoking more criticism, including from conservative groups sympathetic to police." The league also "risks more backlash from those who see Inspire Change as nothing more than a commercial endeavor." But NFL CMO Tim Ellis "defended the decision to run the ad in the Super Bowl." Ellis said, "We feel this is an incredibly important topic and deserves visibility in our biggest game of the year" (ADAGE.com, 1/19).