Tailgating Musts or Bust

Football season starting up and so are the advertisements. Target, Dicks Sporting Goods, and Best Buy are some retailers advertising “essentials” for game day and football season in their print ads and online.

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By defining particular items as necessities for football season and tailgating, retailers are creating their own definitions of tailgating and narratives of what the tailgating experience should be like for consumers.

Target’s ad includes food items such as pre-made pizza and Coca-Cola, but also advertises TVs, grills, and fan gear. Dicks Sporting Goods’ ad includes pop-up tents and chairs, fan gear, coolers, and tailgating games such as corn hole. With Best Buy, all of their “necessities” are electronic – including cameras, speakers, televisions, and cell phone cases.

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By showing consumers products that are considered “game day essentials,” retailers are building their own narratives about the tailgating experience. Each retailer’s idea of what commodities that experience requires may be different based on the products sold at each business and their target audiences. Those that want the full experience are more likely to buy into a store’s ad and purchase the products retailers suggest.

It’s not necessarily about what the consumer realistically needs for a tailgate. These ads for “must have” items are more about creating an idea that makes a consumer feel that without those items, they aren’t getting the best game day experience.

These advertisements are an example of how today’s market is controlled by commodity culture – we define ourselves by the stuff that we buy. Typically, big businesses are able to sell higher ticket items based on a consumer’s need to feel like they fit in. Both the beginning of football season and the end are big opportunities for retailers to convince consumers that these products are what they need for the perfect football celebration. Football fans define themselves by having the best game day items for the season; new TVs, new grills, new gear, new everything. Retailers are ready for football season, and now the fans will be too.

-Amanda Kluttz, Kendall Catterton, Meleah Lewis, Luke Matheney, and Dan Dawson