When NFL Chief Marketing Officer Tim Ellis was hired four years ago, he was asked to “modernize” the league’s marketing strategy. To do so, he wanted to focus on engaging one specific fanbase: the youth audience.
Ellis explained his marketing strategy during “The C-Suite” hosted by Front Office Sports’ Chief Content Officer Lisa Granatstein.
One of the cornerstones, he said, was developing a “helmets off” strategy.
Ellis said that a major barrier between the youth fanbase’s connection with players is the fact that the latter’s helmeted faces are often unrecognizable to the casual fan during games — a direct contrast with other sports like baseball and basketball.
The goal was to “show these guys for who they were — just really interesting, complex, compassionate, wonderful human beings,” Ellis said. “Not just great athletes.”
Then, he added, players could “be the face of the NFL and… essentially connect them with that youth culture.”
The focus on players’ personalities has been successful so far.
“Not only were we able to sort of get the attention and start to bring in these younger fans into the brand, but we also began to drive energy and youthfulness into the brand itself,” Ellis said.
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