Nobody Puts OBJ in the Corner

The NFL may already be the center of focus during the Super Bowl, but that doesn’t stop them from joining the competition for the most memorable advertisement of the night.

If don’t watch the Giants play, you may be unaware that Odell Beckham Jr. has become fairly well-known for his touchdown celebrations. See the below highlight reel for reference:

In a commercial with the slogan “To All the Touchdown Celebrations to Come,”  Eli and Odell take on the epic 80’s classic Dirty Dancing. The two tackled the iconic choreography with near perfect accuracy. Although, admittedly, Odell’s moves are a little more polished than Eli’s, but that just adds to the charm of the ad.

The goal of the advertisement is to market for the upcoming season by highlighting the fact that, for most teams, the Super Bowl marks the beginning of a fresh start. For Eli and Odell, that means nailing the perfect touchdown celebration.

The ad is a mix of surprise, nostalgia, and humor, working in unison to secure its spot at the top of the numerous “Best Super Bowl Commercial” lists for weeks to come after the game–that’s free advertising. The cost to run an advertisement during the Super Bowl is worth it if the ad is successful. Not to mention the fact that several of the ads, including this one, go viral online before the game even airs.

How do you think they did?

-Katie Solinski

When the Bandwagon Fans Fall Off

Living in the US, the NFL is easily one of the most recognizable brands we come into contact with on a daily basis. More specifically, living in North Carolina, we are fully immersed in the mania and hype of “Panther Nation.”


(Courtesy of @IGpanthernation via Twitter)

The Carolina Panthers, like other franchises, maintain a prominent and consistent brand image among their target demographics. There are numerous ways that an organization of this magnitude must communicate with its audience in order to stand out among the many notable NFL “power franchises.” The typology, or types of messages that an organization delivers, must be tailored to the situation, the environment, and the audience that they are trying to reach.

The 2015 NFL season is one that Panthers fans will not soon forget. The team’s star quarterback, Cam Newton, and his fellow teammates rose in popularity as they went on a 15 game winning streak. The team was frequently seen unapologetically posing for mid-game photo-ops, while “dabbing” on their competition.


(Photo: Jeremy Brevard, USA TODAY Sports)

Cam Newton was awarded the coveted title of league MVP and the team even made an appearance in the Super Bowl. I think it’s safe to say that a season like that makes the marketing team’s job quite easy. First of all, the media delivers a great deal of positive, unplanned press for a consistently victorious team. There was even hype created about “the perfect season” before it even happened!

(Joseph Person, The Charlotte Observer)

They were heavily represented by the media in a positive manner. The message was either about another Panthers victory, or something equally as amazing like Cam throwing his insane number of touchdown balls to kids in the stands.


Secondly, football fans are obviously more likely to root for a team that delivers wins. Panthers fans began to come out of the woodwork to see what “Super Cam” or “Luuuuuke” would do at each game. Advertising and social media material was at no shortage due to their strongly positive image in the media, as well as their ever growing, ever enthusiastic fan base.

The marketing and branding techniques of the organization seemed to shift in a new direction after the crushing Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos. The social media updates, advertising, and media coverage transitioned to a much more humble, appreciative tone. The constant stream of “Keep Pounding” updates quickly transformed into a message of “We will work harder” and “next year is our year.”

Unfortunately for the Panthers, the 2016 season has certainly not been their year. So far the team’s record is 1 win and 5 losses. Even worse, their MVP sustained a concussion along with several other key players being placed on injured reserve. This has placed the organization at the bottom of the NFC South Conference. Their current struggle has caused a shift in the typology of the organization’s communication methods. Instead of relying on positive media attention and bandwagon fans, the focus has been more on philanthropy, hard work, and the “ride or die” fan base. Without the epic victories and record breaking plays to broadcast, the Panthers are forced to look for content that comes from within its organizational culture and soul. Recent communication from the Panthers places a larger impact on team motivation and hope for the future:


While other messages highlight the organization’s charitable efforts and donations.


A small sigh of temporary relief likely comes from the generally supportive response the Panthers have received from their true fans:


Although the NFL audience may be harsh and unforgiving at times most fans stay loyal to their favorite team, no matter how stormy the weather. The determination and optimism found within the typology of the Panther’s messages will likely resonate with true fans and keep them coming back for more!


(Jeff Siner, The Charlotte Observer)


Are you a Panthers fan? If so, are these communication strategies keeping you hopeful for your team, or are you fed up and just ready to see some wins? Let us know what you think!


-“PR and IMC: The Benefits of Integration” Public Relations Quarterly, Fall, 1994, 38-44

A Symbol of Hope or Shopping?

Whether it be the NFL, Yoplait’s pink lids, or local breast cancer benefit events, like UNCW Communication Studies Society’s Rock for a Cure this Friday night, the color pink is plastered all over the nation during the month of October. As it stands, the pink ribbon is a universal symbol representing the fight against breast cancer. Over the past few years some critics have emerged saying this beacon of hope has merely become an annual marketing campaign. Nancy Stordahl, a blogger for the Huffington Post, criticizes the campaign and in 2012 she composed a list of the ten things she felt were wrong with the pink ribbon.

You can find the full article here, but there are two points in particular she relates back to marketing that raise an interesting discussion. The first is that the pink ribbon is being used to sell stuff and has lost its original purpose, a purpose to unite this country and show our commitment to finding a cure. Today, marketers are using the pink ribbon to tie the cause to the products they are trying to sell. Stordalh even calls breast cancer the “shopping disease.” Customers are no longer buying just the product but they are now buying into the pink ribbon and what it has traditionally stood for. The typeology approach to IMC acknowledges that companies have products that look like another company’s products and services. However, it also points out that the market depends on common interests between themselves and the people who can help their company thrive. While the number of pink ribbon branded products on the market may be alarming, maybe marketers are giving consumers what they want – a deeper connection to a brand that allows them to make a contribution to something that has seemingly impacted them both.

The second point Stardahl makes is that marketers are selling the idea of “selling good will.” If the consumer purchases a product that will lead to a company’s contribution, the consumer views this purchase as their contribution to the cause. This tactic allows corporations and organizations to sell more products and increase profits while enhancing their corporate social responsibility at the same time. In turn, consumers are able to buy into the commodity culture that surrounds the pink ribbon. They become part of the fight and part of the cure all while donning their pink ribbon branded merchandise.

Next time you have the opportunity to join the fight, think local and try to avoid the marketing tactic of “selling good will” and supporting the “shopping disease.” If what critics say is true, and the pink ribbon has lost its symbolism for hope, strength and a unified commitment to a cure, is it ethical for marketers to continue using this symbol on their products? Let us know what you think about the national attention that is brought to the pink ribbon. Do you think it has become a marketing tactic or does it still representation of the fight to find cure?

Brands – The Biggest Fans in the Game.

According to, 49 percent of Americans are football fans…but just in case you’re not among them, football season can also mean a whole new ball game in the world of advertising.

Companies will capitalize on anything they can and football season is no exception. Brands launch new campaigns both in preparation for, and during the season, in order to take advantage of the huge draw from football audiences. By gearing their products and services towards this huge target market, companies can add a new segment to their customer base regardless of whether they are directly related to football or not.  Advertisement strategies will range from direct involvement through sponsoring the NFL to simply trying to profit off the hype.  Football fans who are considering the Bojangles 20 piece jumbo tailgate special now have extra incentive to make Bojangles their game day choice. Bojangles is embracing football season with their second year of offering up football shaped Bojangles biscuits. These tasty bites are available for a limited time until September 26th.


While food and football go hand in hand, make-up is a less traditional, yet still relevant way to show your team spirit.

CoverGirl’s 2014 campaign featured a series of makeup and nail designs that represented each of the NFL teams colors and mascots. Inviting women to “Get your Gameface on” CoverGirl found an effective way to include their target audience, possibly otherwise ignored, in the team spirit so many Americans feel during the pro football season. This campaign is a prime example of the diversity of brands using football as a marketing technique, proving even CoverGirl is more than just a pretty face.


Brands are not just incorporating football into their advertising campaigns but turning to social media for game day participation. During the 2013 Super Bowl, the power went out in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome while the Saints played against the Ravens. Minutes after the power outage, Oreo took to Twitter and posted “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” The tweet generated more than 15,000 retweets and according to won respect for making the most out of the blackout situation. Other companies that took to Twitter during the power outage were Tide with their ad, “We can’t get your blackout. But we can get your stains out.” Jim Bean also got in on the hype via Facebook with their ad, “In case you missed the memo… tonight’s big game ‘power outage’ was brought to you by Jim Beam Black.”


Some people welcome football season in for the games, while others may find creative brand efforts to be the real source of entertainment. What’s your favorite football related campaign?

-Carey Poniewaz, June Wilkinson, Aki Suzuki, Carey Shetterley, Alexis Trimnal