Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 20 No. 42
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

After some detours into glitz, it’s all football for Dolphins campaign

When Stephen Ross bought the Miami Dolphins four years ago, he talked about merging entertainment and sports. He brought in celebrity investors like Jennifer Lopez, had a red carpet ceremony before games, and plowed money into an interactive handheld device for club seat holders.

But now the team is painting its new marketing campaign as revolving around football only. Even last week’s announcement that the team will be featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” was portrayed as a football decision.

“It is a football-first theme,” Mike Dee, the team’s chief executive, said of the ads, which will appear on TV and radio and in print. “We have worked hard to broaden the fan base here, incorporating entertainment, but our general branding position this year is football paradise.”

The team has struggled to sell out in recent years, with a mediocre team and high-profile off-field failures, like the unsuccessful pursuit of head coaching candidates and free-agent quarterback Peyton Manning.

The ads, carrying the tag line “There is no offseason,” feature players, coaches and fans. One shows new coach Joe Philbin in his office late at night studying game tape. Others show lineman Jake Long getting into an ice bath; a player training with ropes; and three generations of Dolphins fans walking through a tailgate before a game, the eldest wearing a Larry Csonka jersey, the middle one a Dan Marino jersey and the youngest a Reggie Bush jersey.

The team unveiled the campaign last month to sponsors during the annual team business summit.

The club also is reintroducing its fan club, after Dee discontinued it when he arrived in 2009. Calling the old one antiquated, he said the new version would offer discounts for purchases inside Sun Life Stadium. Membership is free.