From touchdowns to extra points, penalties to celebrations, football has been a staple in American culture for the past 100 years. In celebration of those years, the National Football League (NFL) launched NFL100, a multi-faceted and interactive campaign that uses various communications tactics to pay tribute to the league. Through nostalgic videos, community service and promotions, the NFL is effectively garnering awareness of this achievement. 

Commercial: Introducing NFL100 to 98.2 million people

During Super Bowl LIII in February 2019, the campaign was introduced through a two-minute commercial. It features a gala celebration attended by notable coaches and players, including quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

The humor of the setting and the action of the plays create a sense of nostalgia for football fans. As multiple coaches and players in the commercial are retired or nearing the end of their career, these fans were challenged emotionally – and that’s the effectiveness of this commercial.

Seeing these coaches and players, even off the football field, brought their minds back to that one season, that one game or that one season, and it made them want to share that feeling.

Video series: Counting down the greatest moments, milestones and people

Through a collection of 100 videos in the NFL100 video campaign, viewers can “countdown the greatest moments, milestones, and people that have shaped this great game”.

These videos are rooted in emotion, and those emotions are triggered through storytelling. Video number 93, for example, recalls the 1948 National Football Conference championship game, which turned out to be the Philadelphia Eagles’ first victory in that stage of play in 16 years. Between the brief written synopsis and old-school footage, viewers can imagine that moment, regardless of whether or not they remember it originally.

Whether it’s sharing a drink at the first NFL game, or relishing in their team’s loss in the final game of the season, fans recall memories upon connecting with these stories, which makes them more inclined to share the video.

Social media presence: Challenging the audience with Huddle for 100

The NFL also created a social good campaign titled Huddle for 100. This challenge encourages organizations and communities to partner with NFL teams in groups called “huddles” to donate 100 minutes of their time to the cause of their choice.

Five members of the Los Angeles Rams, for example, partnered with Habitat for Humanity to help elderly in Camarillo, CA beautify homes. This huddle and many others can be found on social media through #NFLhuddlefor100.

Using their anniversary celebration as a medium to give back to the community, the NFL also garners a positive reputation. Especially after receiving negative publicity in recent years, the NFL needed the uplifting boost that this aspect provides.

The success of Huddle for 100 can be attributed to people’s need for social currency. According to Contagious, unique experiences or recognitions are constantly shared to spark inner remarkability. Organizations and communities, which in this instance includes NFL teams, want to be recognized in as many good ways as possible, and this is just another way to do so.

Promotions: Offering fans the opportunity to win once in a lifetime experiences

To get fans personally involved with NFL100, the NFL created the Experiences of a Lifetime. From winning a leg day with New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley to a spot shadowing football analyst Adam Schefter on Monday Night Football, the prizes are deemed once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

Being once-in-a lifetime opportunities, these will never come again, so winning one of these elite prizes – and sharing it – gives people that social currency. Sharing unique recognitions, such as the prize for this sweepstakes, will draw attention and satisfy that craving for attention the same way that sharing unique experiences, like Huddle for 100, does.

As fans are entering these contests to gain social currency, they are also taking part in the NFL’s storytelling of their past 100 years. In order to participate in this promotion, fans must follow, snap and post; that is, they have to share their stories.

It’s fans like Monica, who shares her love of the San Francisco 49ers as well as her dream of becoming a sideline reporter, who promote the mission of NFL100 – to highlight the impact the NFL has had on people over the past 100 years.

This blog was written for a school assignment.

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