It’s kickoff time; “Let the Show Begin.”
The tagline is part of the NFL’s new marketing campaign that breathes blockbuster-level enthusiasm into the start of football season with cinematic spots meant to mirror movie trailers, and appeal to millennials.
“When you’re marketing a brand that’s almost 100 years old, 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,” Dawn Hudson, chief marketing officer of the NFL, told Variety. “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 campaign was led by Sam Howard, NFL director of advertising, and New York-based advertising company Grey Group, and targets the under 35-year-old demographic. It’s based on two distinct approaches, Hudson told Huffington Post.
“First, we want to harness the excitement, emotional feelings and the hope that everybody has for their team as the new season starts,” Hudson said.
The NFL is also “taking a page from the entertainment industry playbook” by creating ways for fans to engage with the sport in the same way they would a hollywood film.
The campaign is set to roll out over the next 16 weeks with four phases that focus on the emotional themes experienced throughout the season: hope as fans get excited for what will unfold; unpredictability as teams surprise by performing stronger or weaker than expected; drive, as the playoffs heat up; and survival, as the best teams compete in the championship.
The multi-platform campaign will include 60-second and 30-second spots, as well as social media content such as 15-second and 7-second videos, personalized promos and behind-the-scenes footage for each of the 32 teams.
The first 60-second spot, Hope (posted above), debuted before Thursday’s opener between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots. It features dramatic cuts of NFL players Landon Collins, Von Miller, Dak Prescott, Earl Thomas, and newcomers Myles Garrett and DeShaun Watson as they make their way to games in various cities.
In true Hollywood style, the NFL also tapped Grammy Award winning artist Miguel and set the promo to his original track, “Shock and Awe.”
The spot showcases the anticipation of the season as it gets underway by highlighting the players before they get to the field.
“You’re getting a different take on these athletes because it’s not them in action moments, it’s them as humans,” Miguel told Huffington Post. “You’re getting how majestic they are.”