Do companies that try to market their products to football fans by showing teams wearing generic, non-descript uniforms realize how foolish they look? Do they realize that instead of reaching their target audience they’re actually alienating it?
You know what I’m talking about. Take any non-NFL sponsoring company that sells electronic appliances, for example. Let’s say they run an ad or commercial selling new HDTV’s, and they want to show you how great the “big game” looks on the big screen by running a few clips of no-name football players (no-name because they’re actually actors) scoring miraculous game-winning touchdowns on plays that would never actually happen. And instead of the game being between two well-known NFL franchises, it’s actually between a team wearing all white and another that might have something like lime green helmets and black jerseys (or maybe a purple and orange combination – who knows?).
And the fans (who are often, but not always, in cheap bleacher stands instead of an actual stadium) are all waving pennants (nobody actually brings pennants to a game, by the way) that say something like “home team.” The cheerleaders are wearing turtlenecks, there are a disproportionate number of white players who all look like quarterbacks or receivers, and you won’t find a single logo anywhere – absolutely no one expresses any form of identity. Remember, the idea is that what you’re watching is a “big game.” These are the type of ads I’m talking about. The ones that are either ridiculously folksy or pathetically cheesy.
I’ve seen gobs of these non-NFL-affiliated ads and every time I do I find myself laughing at the number of idiots who actually signed off on them.
Think about it: a bunch of well-paid executives sat down and had a meeting about how to market their product to football fans. And their idea was to sell pretend teams playing with pretend players in a pretend league. These well-paid marketing executives all figured that football is football and sports fans either won’t notice or won’t mind the difference. Right. And California is California, so go ahead and attract tourism by promoting the “Welcome to Fresno” arch above the main highway entering town instead of the Hollywood sign overlooking Los Angeles.
The funniest thing about all this is that throughout the entire process of making the commercial, these marketing execs did not actually encounter a single member of their target audience. You know they didn’t because any football fan who saw the white and blue visitors playing the red and lime green home team would have told the executives how corny the whole thing was.
The people who make these commercials are like the school administrators who try and preach drug-free messages to junior high students by hosting Red Ribbon events that feature mascots or balloon-animal making clowns. A+ for concept, F for execution.
Note to all non-NFL-sponsoring companies trying to profit from football’s popularity: we find it cute that you try to prove your value by selling us on the idea of sports, but please, stop embarrassing yourselves.