“It’s not personal — it’s strictly business,” couldn’t be more appropriate when discussing the recent NFL “taking a knee” kafuffle and its effect on consumer buying behavior.
This past week, the Papa John’s Pizza chain announced significant stock price loss, down 8.5 percent on Wednesday (November 1) due to the NFL player actions. For fans, football team owners are not managing the crisis effectively and as a result, have walked away from their beloved sport.
From the fan’s perspective, there appear to be no “adults in the room.”
They feel making this situation right is obvious. Simply, “remind players that it’s not about them, but all about their customers.” Or even more basic — “Just play football and skip all the nonsense.”
Further, fans see the owner’s response — “it’s complicated,” to be an expression only used when one isn’t determined to win. “Complication” is anathema to fans who have been brought up to believe in the football anthem — “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
The dirty little secret on the street from the fan’s point of view is that owners are taking the politically correct position and have not “fessed up” to a basic fact. Fans (at least the majority) don’t care about the social injustices in the world, especially when it comes to watching America’s favorite sport — football. It doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in their cause. It does mean however consumers like to compartmentalize their activities — entertainment vs. social-responsibility. And to remind the NFL: never on Sunday, especially when it comes to football watching.
Football and for that matter all sports satisfy the need to be entertained not preached to by players. Further, fans feel that their overpaid players know nothing of their plight much too complicated to articulate. Rhianna’s cry “to shut up and drive,” best expresses how most fans feel, but are either too frustrated or embarrassed to state publicly.
It’s no secret that for many, watching football is sacred much like going to a religious service. Homiletics for fans should be reserved for Sunday service religious leaders, not football players whose lifestyles are incongruous with theirs.
A possible solution can be found in the "Good Book’s" Ecclesiastes 3:
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
This verse translates into why protesting and communicating one’s belief off the field may be a solution for the NFL. Perhaps after the season, the NFL, players, and owners could have a day of reflection. This “NFL Day of Reflection,” could address the concerns of these activist players. This promotional tactic gets back to the business of football while tackling the concerning of players and their community. Who knew marketing could be so helpful in resolving such a conflict?
One issue that should concern the NFL: if something is not done expeditiously, the Papa John’s situation could be one of many to follow. Real, not contrived plans where fans buy into the promotional day is key to success. And whatever it is it should never interfere with their need — “watching some good old football.” And yes, it’s always easier when you have marketing in mind.
Today’s Marketing & Branding Lens Thought 11/03/2017
“Don’t quit your day dream!”
Dr. John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert, known as The Marketing Doctor. JT utilizes his doctoral skills in applied research psychology to analyze the issues and personalities of the day utilizing his marketing and branding lens. This provides his readers with additional insight needed to understand the “new normal” in politics, news, and culture. Dr. Tantillo is the OpEd writer for Political Vanguard. He is the author of "People Buy Brands, Not Companies,” and the Udemy course "Go Brand Yourself!" You can follow him on Twitter @marketingdoctor and at Facebook.com/dr.johntantillo. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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