The purpose of ‘NFL Play 60’ launched in 2007, is to increase the health and wellbeing of younger fans by encouraging them to get sixty minutes of physical activity per day, as well as promoting heathy food and drink options. In order to spread this campaign far and wide, the NFL had national and online outreach programs, as well as implementing in and out of school programs for children. Although the purpose is to increase health in a well-rounded sense, the NFL was particularly interested in combating childhood obesity with their programs. I will be analyzing the aspects of this campaign, as well as breaking down what theories the campaign used. I will wrap up by saying what I thought the campaign did well and what could improve to make it even more successful.
Before elaborating on the communication theories the NFL used to make their campaign successful, it is important to understand the various aspects of it, because the NFL utilized partnering with other organizations and schools, as well as propaganda, to appeal to as large of an audience as possible. Being very cut and dry, this campaign promised kids that by doing sixty minutes of exercise a day would allow them to become healthier, have fun with various activities, and there was a possibility they could meet an NFL player if they were enrolled in the program.
There are three types of programs a child can enroll in to participate in the campaign: in-school programs, after-school programs, and online programs. The in-school programs were supported by teachers in certain schools, and they educated kids on being active and eating healthy, while allowing them to compete for prizes. The after-school programs were run by various schools, but open to kids that went to any school in the area and focused on getting exercise through fun games that NFL players suggested. The online program was created in a kid-friendly manner that allowed children to track goals and progress, while getting tips and tricks from NFL players. All three of these sections of the program are free of cost, and the more kids get involved in the programs the more likely they are to win grand prizes, which helps continue encouraging healthy behaviors.
Promotion was carried out through TV commercials, a website, a logo, Twitter, Facebook, and hashtag. The TV commercials played during football games and were broadcasted nation-wide. They included guest starts, such as Cam Newton and President Obama to draw more attention to them and were funny for both adults and children watching. The campaign also encouraged members of Play 60 to wear shirts with the logo and ride in buses with the logo, so that people everywhere were subjected to seeing the logo. The website is extremely up-to-date, with a welcoming video that is already promoting the 2018 kickoff and has a guide to the kick off, which is complete with how you can get involved and how your local schools can become involved included. The website has options to sign up, get more information, tips and tricks to becoming more active, and a link to an app that participants can utilize. The twitter has nothing overly special about it, but is a nice way to showcase different kids getting involved in the organization, so people looking into it can see that it really is something people get involved in. The Facebook is very different than the other forms of promotion, because it specifically highlights on the NFL players who are involved in the organization. This is the way that kids can feel super connected to their idols, because as they get active in activities that the campaign promotes, they get to see pictures of these star athletes doing the same thing. The posters created with the intention of promotion play more off of the Facebook than other forms of social media, since they all include pictures of NFL players and have healthy lifestyle tips on them. The posters make you look twice because it is athletes that you recognize, and kids who have huge dreams and aspirations of being athletic when they get older are going to want to stop and analyze the posters. Lastly, the hashtag #nflplay60 is used on twitter and Instagram and allows parents to post pictures and videos of their kids participating in the program to raise more awareness.
I do not feel my campaign used any theories explicitly. I would say it the campaign utilizes targeting, because it appeals to children who are in school and looking for activities to do during or after school that keep them active, along with bandwagon appeal because of how widely this campaign uses kids and their parents wearing shirts for the campaign which would increase the chances of other children wanting to join. I choose this campaign because I feel I can offer many solutions utilizing health messaging theories, that would increase the impact of the campaign and encourage more people to join. Beginning with the forms of promotion, I found the website extremely helpful because of how up to date it was and how much information there was on how to get involved in pre-existing ‘Play 60’ events, or how to start your own. I also found the commercials to be impactful because of how they utilized well-known football players, that would immediately draw attention, and then used funny scenarios with kids that would keep people watching.
The downfalls of the promotion begin with the Facebook and Twitter because, although they highlight NFL players that are involved, they look really unprofessional. The pictures are poor quality and there is not enough structure. I would reconfigure these platforms to revolve more around daily or weekly suggestions on how to get kids outside and healthy eating tips, and then feature football players showing them how to properly play games or make healthy snacks. I would also encourage the campaign to utilize Instagram, over Twitter, because it would get more attention due to the increasing popularity of the app. Better use of social media would be an inexpensive and easy way to increase awareness of the organization and its goals.
In my campaign overview, I pointed out that the most major weakness was the lack of theories and tactics they used. To begin, I believe the campaign would be much stronger if it reached directly out to parents, rather than children and the schools, purely because parents have the most impact on what their children will be part of and if they will actually participate. I also believe it would be very easy to motivate parents to sign their children up using the Extended Parallel Process Model. This model helps campaigns create the perfect amount of threat and efficacy about what the creators want people to be afraid of and how the people can create solutions to them. By using this fear and solution approach with a parent’s most prized possession, their child, I believe it would be extremely easy to motivate them to get their kids involved. The campaign would merely need to inform parents all the risks associated with childhood obesity, and provide the solution of the NFL Play 60, to encourage them to sign up.
Overall, I believe this is a campaign with a fantastic objective, and it is great that anyone and everyone can sign up for free to improve their health. I believe that by changing the targeted audience to parents and instilling fear regarding childhood obesity will make this campaign grow at a much faster pace and allow more people to be positively impacted by it.
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