5 Most Memorable Sports Ad Campaigns of Our Generation
By: Joan Lawlor
Although I am only beginning my studies in what I hope will be a long career in marketing, I thought it would be interesting to look at the most memorable sports television ad campaigns within our generation. I want to fully disclose that I have little expertise in the subject, but simultaneously as a consumer of many of the brands, is it wrong to consider myself an expert? So here is a list on what I believe to be the most memorable ad campaigns of our generation (in no particular order). Feel free to argue or agree with me as I explain why:
1. Michael Jordan and Gatorade
Although I tried to keep the ads within my generation, this one stretches outside it by two years. The 1992 “Be like Mike” commercial quickly became one of the most iconic commercials in sports history. BE LIKE MIKE. The incredibly short and simple motto relates to everyone. I mean c’mon, who doesn’t want to be like Mike? Especially in this commercial as we see him not only dominate on the court with the Bulls, but also joke around with kids and play basketball with them. Using everyone’s favorite player and role model was advertising gold.
2. Danica Patrick and Go Daddy
Can anyone even tell me what Go Daddy is? If you do know, can we agree that it’s because of the incredible provocative commercials with Danica Patrick. Barley anyone knew of this Internet domain registrar until Danica Patrick popped up on our TV screens as the sexy “Go Daddy Girl.” These commercials used sex appeal to get viewers to Google Go Daddy and find out more about the brand. Whether this was for good or bad, Danica’s hair blowing in the wind and her tight shirts worked for many individuals as they were encouraged to see more on the Go Daddy website. Using Danica as a spokesperson was both a sexy and smart move.
3. Donavan McNabb and Campbell’s Soup
Who doesn’t love a mama’s boy? In this series of commercials marketing met reality as actors were ditched and a real life mother worked to best feed her son. Mothers felt they could trust another mother and they found that the soup must be hearty and healthy if an NFL player was using it. Seeing a mother and her son on screen tugged at one’s heartstrings and the banter between the two made for a family friendly campaign.
4. ESPN: This is SportsCenter
From Adrian Peterson and David Ortiz, to Chad Johnson and many mascots of various teams, these hilariously awkward commercials combined both the hottest names and teams in sports. Taking both the reporters and athletes and throwing them into commercials showed how the reporters can be just as star struck or just as awkward as their viewers behind the scenes. These commercials made celebrities out of their anchors and made ESPN bigger and better than ever.
5. Aaron Rodgers and Discount Double Check
I will fully admit that my bias may be showing the most in this last selection. But using any star athlete after they win any sort of championship is marketing genius – the only difficulty is paying for the athlete and making the ad memorable, rather than just saying “hey, this star likes our brand so you should too.” State Farm did a wonderful job turning a boring car insurance discount policy into a memorable motto, and along with the motto, a short dance. The commercials connect the crazy fans to not only Rodgers, but also two more of the Packers star athletes: Clay Matthews and BJ Raji. Both the fans and athletes in the commercials draw laughs, and it leaves viewers young and old talking and laughing about a simple car insurance policy.