T.P.R. Episode 7 - NFL Marketing Strategies


Sam: Alright guys, thank you so much for joining us here on the 7th episode of The Production Room. We are super excited for you to join us here, we hope that you are well. I'm joined here in the production room by my co-host Mikhael Alfon, who is our Head of Content Strategy and Nelson Dale, who is our Director of Content Marketing. We're in here today and we're going to talk about something that's really relevant to the times. We're here to talk about NFL. It is back in season, we are fired up about it and there's a lot of football fans out there that are fired up as well as a long break.


Sam: Being away from football fans, being away from football and I know that the football fans out there, that who your team didn't do as well last year maybe they tried to position themselves for a higher draft pick. Or who knows, it's all fresh start. So it's a great place as an NFL fan to be right here, right now, because everybody's in it, which is really exciting. But one of the things we really want to talk about here is just the successful advertising that takes place in the NFL. And I know that we all look forward to the NFL season when it comes around because the commercials get better. Geez, it's a lot of fun. And they do that on purpose because they know there is a lot of people watching them. So the advertising spots are gone for like $40 million plus for a 30 second spot. During some of these high games especially like on Sunday night or Monday Night Football or the Thursday night games. These are high ticket places where there's a lot of eyeballs and a lot of brands are vying for the attention there. And so in an interview an article, AD Age came up with a poll that shows that 50 percent of Americans are professional football fans. So you know you're talking $150 million plus and that dwarfs any other sport and when you look at these things, football draws a huge audience and they've done an incredible job of expanding their reach through things like fantasy football.


Sam: And advertisers have done a good job of really targeting those demographics and speaking to those demographics. Because the reach has just absolutely exploded and polls done an incredible job at that. The NFL is doing a great job when it comes to bringing on advertisers that are targeting lots of different demographics. They have a partnership with MillerCoors, which reaches people age of 21 right. Football games are a great time to drink. A lot of people get involved in that especially at the parties, during the pre-Games, the tailgating parties.

Exactly so. So definitely alcohol plays a huge role.

You see a lot of beer advertisements and Miller Coor speaks to that demographic but they also have deals with Pepsi right. So they're speaking to the younger demographics people that don't drink and people that aren't able to legally drink and are even targeting younger demographics than that.


Sam: Dannon this year has a retail promotion that is encouraging kids to search for one of the six golden Dannimals Bongo bottles. For a chance to win a field day for their school with NFL players. so you know they're doing some really cool things to really bring in the younger audience people that are searching.

We see them all over Instagram and Snapchat. The NFL is huge in leveraging those platforms, they are very visual and they're reaching those younger demographics. Because as we said the NFL is really reaching more people than ever right now and they're doing a good job of capitalizing on that. They also got a brand like Tide.

We wash our clothes with those of you that use Tide you understand that Tide is a household name, but they sponsor the NFL's history of team colors content. So they ask players to tweet and post about the brightness and durability of washing their uniforms with Tide that's provided. So if someone's favorite player uses tide the hope is that, they'll want to use it too.

So Nelson, when companies have a lot of different demographics, they're trying to target. What do they need to do to make sure that they're successful?


Nelson: I think the main thing is to make sure that you're coming out with that idea of targeting a wide audience. So when you coming into football season for example, you want to make sure you gear it around those opening games and then gear it around holidays and gear it around these bigger events.


Sam: Trends and hot topics.


Nelson: Yeah, exactly, and then you want to go into more of a targeted demo on your social media maybe and then target ads like male or female or kids or whatever you want to do.

It's more selective on social media. But you definitely want to make sure that you're hitting the higher points like calling dates and things like that.


Sam: So a lot of people that we follow, people that inspire us, whether they be celebrities or athletes or icons. Public figures have always played a role in advertising, draws a lot of eyeballs, gives a lot of credibility to the brand. And if there's millions of followers. Is that Mario?

Mario just cruised in, guys. He's another co-host.


Nelson: Mikhail is trying to get taller on the show.


Sam: So you know we're talking about, the influencer marketing is huge. It's absolutely exploding. We've got people like Kim Kardashian making five, six figures a tweet which is ridiculous. Instagram posts top people with millions of followers on Instagram making millions of dollars of posts.

This is ridiculous. I wish we could try to figure that out. I certainly could. But you know Mikhail, do you think that that using well-known celebrities, players, public figures is an effective way to get people to purchase products, buy services, follow brands become brand advocates?


Purchasing decisions are made over two factors - your mind and your heart.

Mikhail: Yeah. I mean it's tried and true and it is proven. And I think it's great that you define it, as influencer marketing because a lot of people in the ad space or marketing think that this is a new term but it's something that's been going on for a long time. It takes somebody, you take like Air Jordans for example. Right. That was maybe one of the most iconic sneakers of all time type of thing.


Sam: The most.


Mikhail: Exactly. And people are buying that because there is a name attached to that. So I think with brands whether it be football, Tide or whatever it is. It's like giving the audience- purchasing decisions are made on two factors right. It's in your mind and in your heart. And if you can tell somebody like man I can dunk from the free throw line if I put on these Jordans. You know what I mean. They're much more likely to buy because you're giving them a feeling of a community. In addition to that, you're connecting them more personally with somebody that they look up to.


Sam: Gotcha. So the influencer marketing thing is not new, we just have this we've assigned sort of this new label to it because with the with the expanse of the channels Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube. There's a lot of different channels not just TV and radio anymore right.

And if there's just TV and radio then that means that there's a finite amount of hours and a finite amount of spots and ad space and ad inventory. And so a lot of the big brands were leveraging these celebrities and public figures. But now any company can do it because of the amount of channels that are out there and the ability to really there's people that are experts in a lot of different things. A lot of it they influence, a lot of people don't have to have millions and millions of followers to have an effect and have an impact on your marketing campaign. I think that we can agree that when we come back to the sport of football here in NFL, you know traditionally we may have considered it to really trend towards the male demographic. But a study that came out from Forbes recently shows that over the past few years, the league has seen women grow to 44 percent of its fan base with 60 percent of females over the age of 12 identifying themselves as NFL fans. So that gets back to the point of what you see all these different brands that are leveraging NFL content, they're targeting NFL fans because it's grown and expanded its reach. We see recent trends with brands like Victoria's Secret and Nike. They make apparel for these NFL teams now. So if you're a woman, you don't fight it anymore, you don't not go to that.

And if you don't go to your boyfriend or your husband's friend's house for that party. They're coming now and they're wearing the gear. Yeah. You know it's huge.


Sam: So Nelson, when there's a product or a brand that is geared towards one gender more than the other how does that affect the types of mediums used to advertise? And do you use different strategies when it comes to targeting men versus targeting women?


Nelson: I think you do. I think one of the best moves that the NFL made when targeting women. This is a few years ago, pardon me up with breast cancer awareness and so through October you'll see light pink cleats and pink house and things like that so it made me feel like you know hey, women are involved in this as well.

And the funny thing is what that number and statistic for women more watching football I think has to do with a lot of fantasy football. And I think it has to do with a lot of women coming in and drafting players and controlling men. I was kidding.

And no I think it's an awesome factor. The fact that I can sit down with my wife and she's really involved into the game and they've done a really great job. I think when you're really targeting a one demographic you've got to make sure that you leave in mind that hey this could be open to both.


Nelson: And so I think you steer too hard to the left you know you have to make sure that you have a little bit of room for what could come out of the right. So male or female. But I think influencer marketing is a great avenue to take especially when you're coming up with a sports apparel brand. It's great to get in with smaller body builders and things like that. Show an active show on using your sports apparel brand in the gym and things like that. I think it's a easier Avenue now than it was 10 years ago. And another factor is a lot of people don't watch commercials during games that much anymore because you've got things like DirecTV with Sunday Ticket. So you're flipping through. So the avenue I think is better on social media because that attention is for that celebrity that you love to idolize you.


Sam: And it kind of speaks to the user behavior in the sense that when a commercial comes on what do we do. Go to our phone right. And so these brands that are leveraging multiple channels that are understanding that is a cross screen experience now between users that go back and forth between things and being able to leverage that stuff is huge and important. I like how you talked about you you brought up fantasy football. Fantasy football has done incredible things for football for the NFL and the sense of really sort of opening its opening its audience. Because that's true with my what my wife and I are in a fantasy football league we have been for the last couple of years. it's really cool on Sundays to be able to sit there and be like oh how are your receivers doing. Oh you know you got you know Ben Roethlisberger just threw a touchdown. He's on your team and then when you face each other in your league if you guys are in the same league. I mean it's it's been a really cool thing and it has, it has opened that up yet.


Nelson: It's definitely widened in with the cool thing about fantasy football and when you think from an overall fan perspective.

Maybe I used to watch the games and you watch one morning game one night game. Let's say your favorite team. Your favorite team loses maybe you turn off the TV. Not anymore. You know fantasy football you're watching all the games, here now connected to teams that you hated in the past. Really incredible point. For me I hate the Raiders so. But I mean I have Marquis Cooper on my team so I definitely want him to score, I just don't want him to beat my team.


Sam: That's funny, man. You had mentioned earlier before the show started talking about Yahoo. You were talking about Yahoo and how essentially as a search platform when you compare and put it up to Google and even being it's a non-factor. I used to say Google Yahoo and being and then now you just say Google Bing Yahoo's out of that. But there was an acquisition that took place walk us. Tell us a little bit about that acquisition and how fantasy football played a role.


Nelson: Well Verizon who definitely wasn't in the mix of kind of a search platform. Was looking for, I think to explore other options for themselves. And when it first came out, that Yahoo got Bill bought by for 4 billion dollars. A lot of like the news and headlines whereas this is a sad deal. You know they've seen the death of Yahoo. And it's not growing but little do they know the back to the fantasy sports. In general because we're not just on a football it's all about baseball we're talking about basketball. Their platform is great. They really put a lot of money into it and they've expanded a lot of things so that acquisition was made for for sports like don't.

There's no question that you know.


Mikhail: Especially because now user behavior goes from the big screen to the screen in your hand. So it just it adds that extra. As extra platform. To like fantasy sports. I mean I was on one ESPN one by the way of a guy in the pink shirt obviously not contributing very much, like this to what's happening right now. But it's like you go on. You go on ABC or I mean you go on ESPN you go on Yahoo Sports there's banner ads all over. For advertisers to put their stuff on so they're taking that advertisement and getting back here. So there's a lot of opportunity for revenue and a lot of opportunity for extra eyeballs.


Nelson: But this is how it sounded in the how old they are. So I was ninth pick and when it came on for nice pig there was a guy who came up with a suggestion for my pick. And at the end the day went ahead and threw in a Toyota ad.

So that's how a dialed in you know the advertisers are.


Sam: Yeah it's incredible I mean for Yahoo, those fantasy sports platforms open up like you had mentioned a bunch of more ad inventories. Right. So this is a huge revenue ad sales play for them too.

So Fox News had said that advertisers are, as I had mentioned earlier in the show they're paying 40 million dollars for a 30 second spot. That's insane. In 2017 that's the going rate. So compared to other sports football this season is actually relatively short.


Sam: You've got baseball that goes from the beginning of April all the way through the end of October. They play 162 regular season games. It's insane. And then you've got football who is a shorter season they play 16 games right. It goes from the beginning of September until about the end of December which is when the regular season and that are actually the playoffs start in December right. Yeah that towards the end December. So there's a shorter period of time, which means there's less inventory for ad space. When you're talking about over the course of the season.

So Mikhail What do companies need to keep in mind when creating advertising content to make sure that they're getting their point across quickly and effectively?


Mikhail: Well because you know, if we're talking about television advertisement. I think, this can this can actually span to social media as well. The attention span as we can see is getting a lot shorter between. Between plays, between games whatever it might be. You were mentioning how on one NFL ticket right you can scroll between games. And so if there is that moment you have to catch their attention within two seconds there's not a long there's not a big area to tell a huge story. So leading with something very exciting if it's not your private product first which is probably going to turn off a lot of people. But leading with something exciting that's attention grabbing is very important making sure that you get the user's attention again within two seconds.


Lead with something exciting.

Sam: What are your guys thoughts on like advertisers for in smaller companies, small medium sized brands that are let's say they're in geographically specific areas. so let's say there's a team that's in the Phoenix area right. Or there's a company in the Phoenix area. Do you what are your suggestions. I mean is there an advantage to maybe creating an ad or a campaign that speaks specifically to Arizona Cardinal fans.


Mikhail: It's funny that you were thinking the I was thinking red in my head red right here right.


Sam: So I mean as far as like I mean like making a comment about Sunday's game or putting in your ad copy something that speaks specifically to Cardinal fans. Yeah. What are your thoughts on that?


Mikhail: I think that that's how you target somebody. You're essentially using influencer marketing that you probably don't have licensing to use than an actual player. But with Facebook ads you can get so targeted, that you can do it like if you're a local business for example. You know instead of the cardinals let's go here because I know the demographic right. So if you're in Costa Mesa, in Orange County, you might be a Chargers fan. You put out something that in the ad copy it says something about Chargers. And then in addition to that you have the blue and the yellow in the ad as well you are very likely to capture the attention of that user. Especially if it's during the time of the game. Their mindset at that moment is all about the Chargers. You know what I mean so I think that's very effective. And people should look at getting very granular with their ads are getting because they can.

Yeah you know so.


Sam: And in speaking, it speaks to being relevant in the moment in the time right and being not just sitting back and just letting something run forever or whatever. It's being specific speaks specifically to who your audience is and what they care about. And then position the messaging in such a way that's relevant right. if you're talking about the Chargers while on Sunday, then you're going to get a lot of opportunity to really engage people based on what they're interested and catch their attention.


Nelson: Yeah well I know Nike when they went back and targeted a lot of stuff for Facebook. They went in targeted locations based on teams and eventually created like pages and advertisement just for those areas based on those teams and more apparel.


Sam: Yeah not super smart. And it's a way to really be on the ball and differentiate yourself from your competitors. Is to use those things that are common among those audiences and speak specifically to them and try to catch their attention. That's a really smart marketing play. It might be something that a lot of our clients and a lot of our viewers and listeners want to take advantage of and think about when they start building campaigns here around NFL season. Great stuff guys. Awesome. I love talking about sports especially NFL. Gets me fired up and a couple of days will get opportunity to spend five six or seven hours in front of the TV watching football. I'll probably cruise down to brunch too. That's what we all do here. My wife and I. So I appreciate you guys coming on.

I really hope that our viewers and listeners enjoyed Episode 7 of The Production Room we thank you so much for joining us. It means a lot to us that you're here. My name is Sam Smith and from all of us here at Replay don't stop growing. Don't ever, ever stop.