NFL’s New Marketing Campaign Channels Hollywood Blockbusters

The NFL is taking a page from Hollywood in unveiling its new multi-platform brand campaign to welcome in football season.

Complete with commercials, movie-style posters and the tagline “Let the Show Begin,” the NFL is honing in its consistently above-average television ratings and modeling its campaign to match the fanfare of suspenseful blockbuster trailers.

“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,” said Dawn Hudson, chief marketing officer of the NFL. “Given that, fandom for sports really happens when you’re younger, it’s really important that we reintroduce the brand to the next generation.”

The first 60-second spot will debut prior to the regular season opener between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots on Thursday. A total of four commercials will roll out during the season, with themes mirroring the human emotions of hope, unpredictability, drive, and survival, that unfold during the NFL season. As the year plays out, they’ll update footage to reflect the mood at that time, Hudson said.

To score the first commercial, they chose an original track, “Shock and Awe,” created by Grammy-winning artist Miguel. “We wanted something that was soulful, we wanted something with drive, and so we looked at a series of artists that had that kind of style,” Hudson said.

The “hope” trailer features cinematic cuts of NFL players Landon Collins, Von Miller, Dak Prescott, and Earl Thomas, along with newcomers Myles Garrett and DeShaun Watson.

“You’re getting a different take on these athletes because it’s not them in action moments, it’s them as humans,” Miguel said. “You’re getting how majestic they are.”

And as a lifelong sports aficionado, Miguel felt he was a natural fit for the project. “I’m a fan of greatness. I’m a fan of any time we’re challenged and our ability and our instinct are put to test,” he said.

In tandem with commercials, social media platforms will be sprinkled with personalized promos and behind-the-scenes footage for each of the 32 teams. “For the Falcons there’s even a quick piece of creative about revenge,” Hudson hinted.

Sam Howard, NFL’s director of advertising, spearheaded the campaign with Grey Group in New York in an effort to target all fans, while focusing under 35 demographic, Hudson said.

“We are thinking of ourselves the way our fans think of us and copying an entertainment form of communication for football,” Hudson said.

Watch a clip of the first trailer here or above. 

More TV

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez Joins TikTok App to Promote NBC's 'World of Dance'

    Jennifer Lopez is the latest celebrity to hop on TikTok, the short-form video app owned by Chinese internet giant Bytedance — more proof of the app’s growing traction, and reflective of media companies’ desire to reach its young-skewing base. Lopez had a very specific aim: to get fans excited about “World of Dance,” the NBC [...]

  • Jussie Smollett, Method Man, Danielle Brooks

    Jussie Smollett Episode of TNT's 'Drop the Mic' Pulled in Wake of Scandal

    TNT has pulled an upcoming episode of its hip-hop roast battle show “Drop the Mic” featuring “Empire” star Jussie Smollett. The episode, set to air March 6, was yanked following the arrest of Smollett on Thursday for allegedly staging a hate crime against himself. In the episode, Danielle Brooks, who plays Taystee on “Orange Is [...]

  • Reese Witherspoon Davita Scarlett

    Starz to Develop 'Kin' Series With Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine

    Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine banner has inked a deal with Starz to develop “Kin,” Variety has learned. The multi-generational family drama comes from “Queen Sugar” and “Constantine” writer Davita Scarlett, who developed the project with Chester Jones III. Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine film and TV head Lauren Neustadter are on board as executive producers alongside [...]

  • David Shuster Michelle Makori I24

    Altice Aims to Carve Out Niche in Cable With Global-Themed i24News

    Who would invest in the U.S. launch of a linear, 24/7 cable news network in the current climate of bloodletting for niche cable channels? Patrick Drahi, the French-Israeli media mogul who controls Altice USA and Altice Europe, that’s who. Multiple system operator Altice USA is slowly but steadily expanding the cable distribution base for i24News, [...]

  • Sunday Night Football Ratings

    Pete Bevacqua Expands Oversight of NBC Sports

    Pete Bevacqua, who joined NBC Sports Group as president in September of last year, will gain more oversight of the NBCUniversal unit in the wake of a recent restructuring of the executive ranks of the corporation. Bevacqua retains his role as president, but will oversee the entire NBC Sports Group portfolio, adding NBC Olympics, production, [...]

  • 'Robin Hood' Director Otto Bathurst to

    Showtime's 'Halo' Series Enlists 'Robin Hood' Director Otto Bathurst

    Showtime’s adaptation of the wildly popular video game “Halo” has found its new director. The network has announced that Otto Bathurst will assume the director’s chair for multiple episodes, as well as serving as EP for the live-action series. Bathurst’s most recent directorial credits include last year’s adaption of “Robin Hood” with Taron Egerton and [...]

  • 'Haunting of Hill House' Renewed, Creators

    'Haunting of Hill House' Renewed as Anthology, Creators Ink Overall TV Deal at Netflix

    “The Haunting of Hill House” is returning to Netflix–sort of. The streaming giant has ordered a new installment in what they are calling “The Haunting” anthology, meaning the  next chapter of the horror series will feature an entirely new story and new characters from those seen in the first season. In addition, Netflix has entered [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content