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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. 

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