When October rolls around, most think about carving pumpkins and dressing up in costumes. But for a diehard NFL fan like myself, pink has replaced Halloween’s iconic black and orange as the unofficial colors of the month.
In partnership with the American Cancer Society, the National Football League is wrapping up their third annual “A Crucial Catch” campaign. This national platform enhances Breast Cancer Awareness both in and out of stadiums, urging women aged 40+ to undergo annual mammogram screenings.
During this month players and coaches have been wearing exclusive pink apparel ranging from hats and jerseys to towels and cleats. Referees are flipping commemorative coins and ribbon stencils hug the 50-yard line every Sunday. Special game balls, along with on-field authentic apparel are being auctioned off (www.NFL.com/auction) to benefit the American Cancer Society.
Similar to all TV infomercials, but wait – there’s more! The NFL has also partnered with corporate sponsors P&G, PepsiCo, Barclays, and others to launch strategically targeted campaigns. New York quarterbacks Eli Manning and Mark Sanchez teamed up with PepsiCo to meet Breast Cancer survivors and convey to a national audience the inspiration they received in this video (Please mind the ad).
In the sports video game world, Madden NFL is the most highly anticipated release of the year. Millions of kids and adults reserve copies and pick them up at midnight on the night of the launch, just to play a few games hours before the rest of the world. The most popular feature in Madden NFL is the “Franchise Mode.” Gamers are given the ability to play the actual 2011 NFL season schedule with their favorite team. So what did I find out a few weeks into my franchise with the New England Patriots. Yup, you guessed it: the players, referees, and coaches are fully garbed in pink gear. Is Madden NFL the right target audience? No. Does it create a buzz and topic of conversation between all ages of gamers? Yes.
“A Crucial Catch” is now three years strong, and growing exponentially. The NFL has done an unbelievable job marketing the strategic partnership between the NFL and National Breast Cancer month. Other than non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. It is remarkable how many media outlets “A Crucial Catch” has touched…so kudos to the NFL, an organization that, while already dear to my heart, has become even more so thanks to this campaign.