The start of the NFL season is upon us and this week’s #SundayMusings dives into the the top news and stories that have caught my attention heading into the season.
#1 – “Teflon Tom: Why Brady’s Brand Remains Bulletproof” via AdWeek.com
Premise: A federal judge overruled the NFL’s Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league on New England Patriots’ QB Tom Brady’s suspension. Over his 14 year career, Brady has developed a superior brand image through four Super Bowl rings and numerous endorsements. “DeflateGate” and “SpyGate” notwithstanding, Brady’s image remains unscathed.
Thoughts: If you have been following this DeflateGate story at all, you are probably sick of it and have been for months. Nothing like Roger Goodell to overreach and then be brought back down to earth by the judicial system. Tom Brady’s personal brand and image have nothing to worry about now and whenever he decides to hang up the laces.
#2 – “Jared Who? Subway Turns Spotlight to Tennessee Titans’ Marcus Mariota” via brandchannel.com
Premise: The #2 pick in this past year’s NFL Draft, QB Marcus Mariota, is the latest athlete to cut a sponsorship and ad deal with Subway, the troubled sandwich maker. The start of the NFL season allows Subway to bombard the NFL audience with its latest sports star, trying to deflect any and all references to ex-spokesperson, Jared Fogle, who has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks and months.
Thoughts: With Mariota going to the Tennessee Titans – generally seen as a “small market team” in the NFL – it will be interesting to see how many deals his agent can get him signed to.
I don’t see how this really supplants the “Jared news” however, as that unfortunate story isn’t going away anytime soon. At the same time, Subway’s ad campaigns have been focusing on athletes for a number of years now and across sports, so this isn’t some new direction for the company.
#3 – “JJ Watt is football’s real-life action hero” via ESPN.com
Premise: JJ Watt has quickly become a/the face of the NFL despite being a Defensive Linemen – a position not well noted for producing a lot of high-level celebrity endorsements. While immensely talented on the field, Watt also seems to have the “it” factor off the field, and has lined up sponsorship deals with the likes of Gatorade, Reebok, and Papa John’s.
Thoughts: There are a good number of interesting thoughts and ideas in this article from agency folk and ESPN’s own, Darren Rovell. It is estimate that Watt already makes about $2.5-$3 million annually in sponsorship deals and that number is likely going to continue to rise. At this growth rate, I’ll probably be sick of JJ Watt by November 1st. However, more power to him, he needs to keep going in building his personal brand.
#4 – “Bud Light Unveils 28 Different Team-Specific Cans for NFL Fans” via AdWeek.com
Premise: Bud Light has created unique cans for 28 of the NFL’s 32 teams – with the four exceptions (Bears, Packers, Cowboys and Vikings) being omitted because they have their own deals with MillerCoors.
Thoughts: AB continues to amp up its sports marketing efforts year after year. What really caught my eye here is the fact that they showcase the Seattle Seahawks can at the top of the article. If someone could send me a few of those it would be greatly appreciated …
Tweet of the Week:
— DraftKings (@DraftKings) August 25, 2015
Preface: I haven’t played Fantasy Football in about a decade at this point. But DraftKings.com (and its competitors) have completely hit a home run over the past ~2 years with how they have developed and evolved fantasy sports. Rather than having the “player” invested in a full season, they take a week by week and day by day approach to the online betting. Not to mention, their ads are pretty awesome …
That’s it for this week’s #SundayMusings! The NFL branding continues to take a hit every offseason with news and stories that take the eyes and ears away from the field. Part of me enjoys seeing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell squirm or act like a pompous fool during his PR campaigns. In any case, try to enjoy the NFL season on the field over the next 17 weeks!