The National Football League (NFG) began its NFG Rush campaign in 2006 with the launch of the unfurls. Com website. The main purpose was to attract children, ages 6 through 14, to the NFG. In 2007, the NFG launched the Play 60 movement as part of the effort. In 2010, the NFG began an animated television series on Nickelodeon called NFG Rush Zone to better reach children. The website, Play 60, and NFG Rush Zone are the three main communication channels through which the NFG gets its message across to its target audience. There is no explicit mission statement for NFG Rush on unfurls. M or on the Neff’s main website. The main audience is children, and they use unfurls. Com as a way to connect to Play 60, NFG Rush Zone, and the NFG in general. Other than listing the year that each component began, the website is not structured like a typical campaign website with a mission statement, frequently asked questions section, an “About Us” section, or a section that states clear measurable goals. Despite no clear goal being stated, it is clear that the goal is to attract children to the NFG and foster a relationship between children and the NFG brand.
Websites that have NFG news, such as esp.. Com and NFG. Mom, are structured for adults and written for an adult audience. However, unfurls. Com caters specifically to children with its articles regarding NFG news, and delivering NFG news is not even the main function of the website. The main focuses of the website include connecting users to NFG Rush Zone, allowing users to play games, and connecting users to Play 60 all show that the website is targeting children, including children who live in homes where football is not prevalent and do not have parent’s that keep track of the NFG.
The NFG Rush campaign can reach those children directly though the website, the show, and Play 60 commercials. Ultimately, the goal is to cultivate good attitudes toward the NFG among children. In turn, this will make children’s behavioral intention be one that intends on becoming a consumer of the NFG brand. When the children get older, the goal is to have their behavior reflect that intention as they become heavy consumers of the NFG brand in all its forms, including viewing actual games and purchasing licensed NFG merchandise.
This movement from attitudes to behavioral intention to behavior is similar to the marketing escalator concept. Mulling says, “The escalator is a graphic representation of consumer movement to higher bevels of involvement” (Mulling, 2007, p. 42). Right now, children would be at the bottom of the escalator as a non-consumer. The NFG Rush campaign can help turn children into indirect consumers by having them consume media, such as the NFG Rush website and NFG Rush Zone television show. By doing this, the NFG hopes children will climb the escalator to become light consumers, then medium consumers, and then, ideally, heavy consumers.
By measuring merchandise sales and measuring the number of consumers that moved up the Neff’s marketing escalator, the NFG could develop a measurable goal, but there are not goals explicitly dated on the website. The major message is simply that the NFG is cool. That sounds overly simple, but when children are the target audience, simple is the best way to go. The NFG wants to be popular among children so it will stay popular among those same individuals once they become adults. The television show and website particularly help to demonstrate to children that the NFG is cool.
Nickelodeon is widely considered one of the most popular television networks for children’s programming. Placing NFG Rush Zone there was a good decision by the NFG because the show will most likely be seen there by its target audience. In addition, Nickelodeon is already popular with children, so the NFG can further increase its own popularity by associating with it. However, the NFG wants to retain its audience into adulthood, whereas Nickelodeon loses a lot of its audience once they reach a certain age.
Viewers of NFG Rush Zone may lose interest in the show when they get older, but the NFG hopes those viewers will still remain tied to the NFG as a result of viewing the show as children. In a similar way, the website is designed to be cool and appealing to children. Website users can get more involved with the television show on the Bessie, play games, and learn about real NFG news in a child-friendly layout. Eventually, those children will graduate to other websites like esp.. Com and NFG. Com for their NFG news when they get older.
However, the relationship between individuals and the NFG will already be created and nurtured from the time they are children, making the relationship much stronger. By making the message essentially be “the NFG is cool,” children will recognize that, want to be a part of it, talk about it with their friends, and ultimately become adult consumers of the NFG brand. The here main communication channels used to communicate the NFG Rush campaign message are the website, the television show, and Play 60.
Even though Play 60 is widely accessed via the Internet, which is the same medium as the website, it asks for a more direct call to action that helps the Neff’s brand image among children, and even parent’s, than the website or the television show, so Play 60 should be considered a unique channel on its own. Play 60 is the Neff’s movement to encourage children to be active for 60 minutes per day in order to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity, which is a health concern. By associating itself with helping to address this health concern, the NFG strengthens its brand image.
Children like going outside to play, which is a word that is used very purposefully by the NFG, so children will associate the NFG with fun and view the NFG is a positive way. Parent’s want their children to be healthy, so parent’s will associate the NFG with being a good example for healthy exercise habits and view the NFG is a positive way as well. There is access to more information about the Play 60 movement on the unfurls. Com website, and there are even two separate links that say “For Adults” and “For Kids” as choices on the unfurls. M Play 60 main page. The website functions as a communication channel with NFG news, which has been explained, but there is also a large element that involves games. The website offers over 80 games for users to play. The website encourages users to make an account on the website in order for the user to help track his or her progress in all the games and compare themselves to other website users. Once one creates an account, one must create an avatar, which is the graphical representation of the user on the website.
From playing games, users earn points, which can be used to purchase items of clothing for the avatars, such as hats, loves, sunglasses, shirts, pants, and shoes. All of the products are associated with the NFG in some way, whether Witt L logo or the logo to a specific NFG team. This simulates using real money to purchase actual licensed merchandise online. The NFG hopes that by providing an environment for children to play games with a customizable avatar, it will help lead them to purchasing real merchandise one day. The television show, NFG Rush Zone, serves as a communication channel by creating characters to which children can relate.
The idea is that children will watch the show and see that the NFG is a good entity. The show centers around a 10-year-old boy named Ashamed Taylor (primarily referred to as Sis throughout the show), who learns he must protect shards of a power source called The Core, and the shards are hidden at all 32 NFG stadiums. Sis and four other children form a team called The Guardians. Their Job is to guard The Core and, in turn, the NFG. The Guardians are assisted by Rushers. Each of the 32 NFG teams has its own Rusher, which are each visually consistent with their respective NFG teams’ mascots.
The Guardians are also assisted by actual NFG players who appear on the show in an animated likeness of their real- fife selves. Together they protect the shards, The Core, and the NFG from the primary antagonists: Sudden Death and Wildcat, which are both cyber-like creatures with the goal of destroying the NFG and using the powers of the shards and The Core for evil. The 10-year-old main character is right in the middle of the 6 to 14 age range that is the NFG target audience, so the viewers should be able to relate to Sis fairly well.
By depicting the NFG as working to defeat the evil, the children who view the show will associate the NFG with that quality, thus improving its brand image among hose viewers. Having a positive brand image of the NFG will make the viewers more likely to become a consumer. A certain amount of brand loyalty will come with that positive image. If the NFG were to come under any scrutiny, it will be more likely that viewers of the show would still trust and side with the NFG because of the positive image and loyalty the NFG garnered with those viewers when they were children.
To help this, reporters are depicted on the show as not trustworthy. In one particular scene in the third episode of the shows second season, the New England Patriots’ sight end Rob Groundwork is speaking with Sis and the Patriots’ Rusher at Gillette Stadium in Foghorn, Mass. About what they were going to do about a missing shard. A reporter begins to approach them, to which Groundwork prompts Sis and the Rusher to be quiet because the reporter was coming. The reporter asks what was going on and if everything was all right.
Groundwork gives the reporter a short yes and assures the reporter that everything is Just fine even though it definitely was not all fine at that point in the episode. The reporter gives all them a skeptical look and, after a few seconds of silence, walks away. If viewers of the show learn that reporters are not to be trusted or that they are out to get the NFG, then it could have some major implications with the way those viewers interpret any controversial news regarding the NFG later on in life.
Those communication channels are all designed very well to be specifically for children and the campaign definitely pays adequate attention to the target audience. Regarding children’s beliefs, the show caters to children’s fundamental beliefs that good should triumph over evil. The website also caters to children’s beliefs that games are fun to play, especially with a customizable avatar. Play 60 caters to children’s belief that playing is fun. Regarding children’s attitudes, the show caters to children’s positive attitude toward animated television.
Much to chi Eider’s television programming comes in the tort to animation, so the NFG did not need to reinvent the wheel there. The website caters to children’s positive attitude toward playing computer games online and toward using an interactive website to learn, which is to learn about the NFG in this case. In fact, a study by Furlong found, “The younger age group in our population year olds) appeared most frequently to access only games [via the Internet]” (Furlong et al. , 2000, p. 99). Play 60 caters to children’s positive attitude toward playing; it is an activity that children want to do anyway.
Regarding behaviors, the show caters to the amount of children’s animated television programming that children watch. NFG Rush Zone provides another option for an action-adventure show on an already popular children’s television programming network. The website caters to the amount of time children in the campaign’s target audience spend on the Internet. This may have required some preliminary research to gauge that behavior. Nickelodeon has a website, so the NFG could have contacted Nickelodeon regarding its website activity to see if a website dedicated for children to use would even be successful.
Play 60 caters to the behavior of all children wanting to play. Children even look for excuses to play, and Play 60 can be a nice argument to their parent’s for why it is important that they be allowed to go to their friend’s house to play an outdoor game like tag or capture the flag, or even a game of two-hand touch football. Children want to be able to do all of these things and those wants are going to be filled by something. The NFG as created options that are fitting and effective at filling those wants for children with the NFG Rush television show, website, and Play 60.
In a way, children have needs for entertainment and physical activity, but this campaign fits better with fulfilling wants, not necessarily needs The campaign seems to incorporate minimal research findings and lots of persuasive principles. The research reflected in the study by Furlong shows that children are using the Internet for gaming (Furlong et al. , 2000, p. 99), so that element of the NFG Rush website is consistent with what research has found to be popular among children. Another effective meaner of preliminary research is to conduct focus groups and surveys.
The NFG could have had children from the target age demographic test the games on the website and test the overall use of the website and either talk about it with other testers and an NFG representative in the form of a focus group or answer key questions about the games and website in a survey. There are lots of persuasive principles used. The campaign applies concepts from the belief-based model, cultivation theory, the functional approaches to attitude, the theory of reasoned action, social cognitive theory, the elaboration likelihood model, and the impact of new technologies.
The application of some concepts within these persuasion theories and principles to the NFG Rush campaign will all be explained. However, one good example for now is that Play 60 is as an example of the message strategy called sequential-request strategy. This strategy can enhance compliance with the target request through the door-in-the- face technique or the foot-in-the-door technique. The door-in-the-face technique involves initially making a large request, which the receiver turns down, and then making the smaller target request.
The foot-in-the-door technique involves initially making a small request, which the receiver grants, and then making the larger target request (Coffee, 2002, p. 230-233). By requesting that children play outside for 60 minutes per day, the Play 60 movement is using the toot-in-the-door technique. The time frame of 60 minutes is a small request considering there are 24 hours in a day. This can also be considered a small request because children already want to play, which is why the movement is not called Work 60 or Exercise 60.
By having the movement focus on something children already want to do, children will be more keel to be compliant with the request. The idea is that the movement will foster more active lifestyles. This will ultimately lead to the children living healthier lives overall, which is really the larger request, in the foot-in-the-door analogy, that the Play 60 movement actually wants individuals to comply with. That is Just one example of how the NFG Rush campaign applies concepts from persuasion theories.
In addition to applying persuasion theories, the NFG probably also did some situation analysis and audience analysis before launching the NFG Rush campaign. The NFG could have had to conduct a situation analysis that involved analyzing the feasibility of launching the NFG Rush campaign and its potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The NFG is a multi-billion-dollar business, so feasibility was not likely a huge issue because it has the resources to hire the right creative teams, production teams, and logistics teams that would be needed to execute the campaign on all fronts.
The strengths within the campaign include the fact that it has the ability to reach a large audience, it makes great use of technology, and it has a simple and clear message. The weaknesses within the campaign include the fact that it is hard to measure its effectiveness and it requires many resources. The potential opportunities include more ways to sell sponsorships and advertising. For example, the website could have advertising space and the television show could have times that would be conducive to doing some sort of product placement.
The potential threats include Journalists who may advocate against the portrayal of reporters in the show and parent’s who may view any parts of the campaign as a bad influence on their children. The audience analysis the NFG must have conducted would have had o involve research on which demographic they wanted to target for their product. The NFG already has a very large adult demographic in America, so it seems that it wanted to target a new demographic and lead that demographic to its brand. Children would be the perfect fit for that kind of goal.
Maybe the NFG used statistics of viewers to identify how many homes did not regularly tune into NFG programming on television. If over 100 million Americans watched the Super Bowl, then over 200 million people did not watch the Super Bowl. Perhaps there are children who would be great NFG fans among many of those other 200 million, but cause their parent’s are not fans, they are not exposed to the NFG. The NFG saw this as an opportunity to have children ages 6 to 14 be the target audience for the NFG Rush campaign and foster a whole new generation of fans, which makes sense for expansion, growth, and future sustainability.
The plan that the NFG used to implement the campaign makes sense overall. The message is to make sure children think of the NFG as cool and that has been addressed. The goal is to move children up the Neff’s marketing escalator and this campaign seems designed as an effective way to accomplish that. The three main channels of the website, the television show and the Play 60 movement were implemented effectively to all work together to communicate the message and fulfill the goals. There is always room for improvement in the torture it other sports leagues want to try this.
The NFG is the TLS professional sports league to have a show featured on a major children’s programming network. Other leagues, such Major League Baseball, and the National Hockey League, have a portion of their websites dedicated to children, but they are not much to look at and they exclusively deal with communicating league news in a child-friendly layout. The National Basketball Association has something close to NFG Rush called Hoop Troop. The Hoop Troop is a group of fictional cartoon characters that children can read about on hypertrophy. Com, but the Hoop Troop does not have a television show.
Any campaign with children as the target audience has to have some element other than Just news. Children need another reason to associate with the brands of professional sports leagues, and the NFG has done an effective Job of that with NFG Rush. A suggestion that might improve the NFG Rush campaign, or at least improve widening the range at which the NFG targets children, would be to make Twitter accounts for each of the characters on the television show. It would reach more children that way and it would allow for another opportunity for the television shows viewers to engage with the show.
The website uses a hash-tagging system Just like Twitter within its message boards, so children in the campaign’s target age group are likely fairly as’. N. Y at using Twitter. This seems like a feasible improvement, but obviously not a necessary one. There is nothing about the campaign that absolutely must be improved or addressed in order to potentially increase its effectiveness. The NFG Rush campaign’s effectiveness is definitely strengthened by the numerous strategic communication theories and persuasive strategies that it employs.
The three main elements, or channels, of NFG Rush utilize concepts from the impact of new technologies, the belief-based model, cultivation theory, the theory of reasoned action, the functional approaches to attitude, social cognitive theory, and the elaboration likelihood model. The best way to identify and demonstrate how all of these apply is to discuss each one individually and show how they each apply to one specific element of the campaign. The impact of new technologies is discussed in chapter 11 of Sparks.
First of all, the NFG Rush campaign would not have worked in its current form had it been launched in the sass because its target audience, children, did not necessarily have access to the Internet as it was still fairly new. As a medium, the Internet’s use and popularity has vastly grown over the last 20 years, so a campaign that primarily relies on using the Internet has the ability to succeed now thanks to the development of new technology. Sparks says, “The latest statistics on Internet use suggest that nearly 80% of the U. S. Population uses it daily’ (Sparks, 2013, p. 261). With a percentage like that, a campaign like NFG Rush that relies heavily on widespread Internet use can succeed in the current time period. However, with this new technology becoming so prevalent, Sparks addresses the connection versus alienation argument. When explaining a study conducted at Carnegie Mellon, Sparks said, “Despite the fact that researchers found that the people in the study used the Internet to engage in communication with others, they also found evidence of a rather alarming state of affairs.
Use of the Internet was associated with a general cline in communication with family members who lived in the household” (Sparks, 2013, p. 262). Sparks added that another finding showed that those who used the Internet more frequently reported declining numbers of people in their social circles and that they reported greater telling to loneliness and greater levels to depression than those who used the Internet less frequently (Sparks, 2013, p. 262). So, is technology connecting people or alienating them? The study results lean more toward alienation.
However, for the purposes and functions of the NFG Rush website, it learns more toward connection. For example, children in school usually have something in common in order to have conversations. That could be about a shared activity, a television show that many children watch, or games that they all play. The NFG Rush website offers a wide variety of games that users can play, message boards to communicate with other users, and a modest amount of real NFG news to consume. Children can then discuss those activities from the NFG Rush website with other children at school, which will help form more connections.
Similar interests can help foster friendships, so the NFG Rush campaign seems to be encouraging injection, rather than alienation. Keep in mind, the NFG Rush website is essentially a product that children can consume. Like with any product, children will eventually grow out of it. However, the connections they make with friends from sharing an interest in that product and using it together will still last. That being said, the fun appeals of the games seem appropriate for NFG Rush’s target audience. The games are also appropriate for the campaign’s mission and goals.
If the NFG wants children to like it, then a great way to do that is by using companionship as a reason for consuming it. Companionship is one of the motivations for media use that Sparks outlines (Sparks, 2013, p. 75). The friends children make through sharing an interest in playing the NFG Rush websites games may one day turn into sharing an interest for watching actual NFG games together in adulthood. Although, there may be some ethical concerns with some of the games and what they are encouraging. For example, one game is called “Bank Heist” and the game is Just a truck that is driving through a course.
That game does not have to be given the context of driving away from authorities after committing a robbery. Yet, that was the context chosen. Another example is a game called “Sock Strap Slingshot. ” Set in a locker room, the object of the game is to use your Sock strap like a sling shot to launch items at other people in the room. That may encourage an undesired behavior in children. Other than those two questionable game premises, no severe ethical issues blatantly need to be addressed when it comes to using the technology.
In addition to being a piece of modern technology that fosters connections, the website also works to increase the positivist of attitudes toward the NFG. That directly relates to the belief-based models of attitude, and specifically the summation model of attitude, about which Coffee says, “The model holds that one’s attitude toward an object is a function of belief strength” (Coffee, 2002, p. 54). The website being an extension of the NFG Rush Zone television show is a perfect example of how the NFG can create more positive attitudes toward its brand image, and in turn strengthen the beliefs regarding the NFG and what it stands for.
On the website, there is a section for a game that actually relates directly to the television show. This is separate from the other games on the website and it adds the purpose of creating positive attitudes toward the NFG. The game is called “McGregor,” and the user plays as actual characters from the television show that represent the NFG. By having users play as those specific characters, they naturally will start bonding with them and have a positive attitude toward them. That, in turn, will lead too positive attitude toward the NFG.
This relates to a concept that Sparks refers to called parasitical relationships, which explain how people form real bonds with fictional characters (Sparks, 2013, p. 5). Those bonds between the target audience and the actual characters are strengthened by playing “McGregor,” which then leads to more positive attitudes toward them and the NFG, which the characters represent. If NFG Rush’s goal is to have children like the NFG and think it is cool, then this is definitely an appropriate appeals approach and using “McGregor” is definitely appropriate for the target audience.
The television show by itself, without the website, is a very good example of employing cultivation theory. Sparks says, “The theory is all about the cultivation of attitudes, which is, after all, another way of talking about attitude change” (Sparks, 2013, p. 179). NFG Rush Zone works in a way to cultivate positive attitudes about the NFG by portraying the organization and its members as essentially good. Cultivation theory would suggest that when children view this television show, they will begin to accept the notion of the NFG being good as their perceived reality.
Sparks explains, “The world of media entertainment presents a particular view of social reality’ (Sparks, 2013, p. 179). The view of social reality being presented in NFG Rush Zone is that the NFG fights for what s essentially good and has many evil enemies it holds at bay in order to protect the world. That view will definitely help cultivate positive attitudes toward the NFG among viewers. As an animated series designed for children, NFG Rush Zone is an appropriate choice as a method to appeal to its target audience through the use of cultivation theory.
Using cultivation theory increases positive attitudes among the target audience, which in turn helps the NFG Rush campaign’s goals of making its target audience think the NFG is cool. The one ethical concern is the shows portrayal of reporters. As mentioned earlier, it appears that the show portrays reporters as people who are not to be trusted. If a controversy surrounding the NFG were to arise and reporters were doing their Job and reporting it, then would children who watch NFG Rush Zone believe the reporters or not?
If cultivation theory is applied, the answer would be the children would not believe reporters. The show works to cultivate a negative attitude toward reporters, which can seem to be an unethical practice. Otherwise, the show is fairly clean of any other possible unethical practices. The television show also applies the theory of reasoned action (TARA). Coffee says, “The TARA proposes that one’s intention to perform or not perform a given behavior is a function of two factors: one’s attitude toward the behavior in question and one’s subjective norm” (Coffee, 2002, p. 02). With the NFG and its players being depicted as helpers and heroes on the show, NFG Rush Zone improves viewers’ attitudes toward the NFG. By changing those attitudes, the NFG hopes to change the behavioral intention of those viewers in its target audience to eventually become consumers of the actual NFG brand by watching actual games, in person or on television, and purchasing licensed NFG merchandise. Creating positive attitudes toward the NFG through the show will contribute to that. It is important to point out that the NFG Rush campaign does this fairly subtly.
For instance, nowhere on the website, in the television show, or within the Play 60 movement does it directly call for the target audience to watch actual games or purchase merchandise. However, the show does change viewers’ behavioral intentions, and then ultimately result in the actual desired behavior. The other determinant to behavioral intention within T subjective norm. Coffee classifies the subjective norm as “one’s general perception f whether important others desire the performance or nonperformance of the behavior” (Coffee, 2002, p. 02). If other people who are important to members of NFG Rush’s target audience were to reward them in some way or give them some kind of positive reinforcement for watching the show, then, according to TARA, the viewers in the target audience would be more likely to intend to watch the show again. For instance, a viewer that enjoys a conversation with a friend about the television show is an example of a reward that viewer has received and will increase his or her intention of repeating that behavior.
Similarly, if other people who are important to members of NFG Rush’s target audience were to give them some kind of positive reinforcement for watching actual games or purchasing licensed NFG merchandise, then, according to TARA, the viewers in the target audience would be more likely to intend to continue that behavior. For instance, a person that enjoys watching an NFG game with a friend or family member or is complimented for wearing a piece of merchandise are examples of rewards that a person can receive and will cause an increase in his or her intention to repeat that behavior.
The use of TARA is an appropriate choice as a method to appeal to its target audience through the television show NFG Rush Zone. The ultimate target of NFG Rush is its audience’s behavior once they become adults. In order to eventually get to that, one must target behavioral intention so that the desired behavior can be attained. Therefore, TARA is also appropriate for NFG Rush’s mission and goals since the ultimate goal is behavior, and understanding TARA will help NFG Rush’s campaign developers achieve that very goal.
The other theories that NFG Rush applies can be best illustrated through the campaign’s Play 60 component. The sequential-request strategies that Play 60 uses have already been discussed. So start off with, the Play 60 movement incorporates some of the functional approaches to attitude