As I was watching the NFL games last Sunday, I saw an NFL commercial that literally gave me goose bumps. The ad was a “thank you” for NFL fans from the players. But they were thanked in a way I had never seen before.
Sponsored by the NFL, players from the Carolina Panthers (Go J. Stew!), St. Louis Rams, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens sang the “Wind Beneath My Wings” to fans in restaurants, at their private homes or in public places. The brief 1-minute ad ends by saying, “we play for you.”
This is the most simple and appreciated type of PR you can get. It’s a reminder that even though there were issues revolving the NFL lockout earlier this season, leaving fans panicking about how they were going to spend their Sundays, the players ultimately have a job because of the fans and want to publicly thank them for their patience and continued support.
The best part of the advertisement was that it seemed ligitament and not just a PR stunt, though it increased my respect for the NFL and the teams represented in the spot. Those involved looked like they were having fun and actually surprised the people they were serenading. Maybe it was just really good acting, or maybe the ad came from their hearts and they meant every word.
Another example of recognizing fans is shown here in David Stern’s, commissioner of the NBA, letter to the fans after their lockout had finally ceased. It’s refreshing to see that both the NFL and NBA acknowledged the fans and their support they expressed while the teams were experiencing the lockouts.
Other organizations, not just in athletics, need to realize that they exist because fans, consumers, you name it, support them and a little recognition every now and then is all it takes to keep them as long time supporters.
If you haven’t seen it, here’s the ad below!