By now, you have probably heard about the domestic violence incident with Ray Rice and his fiancée. What you may not have heard about is the negative image NFL sponsors are receiving. In order to explain this phenomenon, we need to discuss the seed of the anger. Although Ray Rice is at fault for the incident, people seem to be even angrier with the Commissioner for his original decision to suspend Rice for two games. Although this punishment has now been upgraded to an indefinite suspension, fans are still not satisfied. Why? Because many people are skeptical about the statement by the NFL, claiming that the horrific footage of the assault was unseen until TMZ released the footage last week.
Every year, the NFL brings in roughly $10 billion dollars, with roughly 10% of that revenue coming from NFL sponsors. Sponsors also help fuel the biggest Television event of the year, the Super Bowl. However, the NFL’s PR disaster may cause some brands to reconsider their future sponsorship with the NFL.
Times have changed. Roughly 45% of all NFL fans are women. This increase in female viewership has spawned new opportunities for advertisement for many brands targeting women. One of the most notable sponsors is the popular makeup brand, CoverGirl.
The brand has been advertising colorful and creative uses of makeup that women can use to show their team spirit. Unfortunately for the brand, people have defaced one of their advertisements across the internet. The targeted advertisement was originally a picture of a women dressed in a purple shirt, with purple eye shadow in the shape of raven wings. On the left side of the screen, the text “Get Your Game Face On!” is placed, with the official NFL logo above it.
After the advertisement’s release, someone took the advertisement into Photoshop and added a bruise under the woman’s left eye and altered the eye to be partially closed. The new picture was then plastered all over twitter, which will not help the image of CoverGirl or the NFL. The Twitter posts were attached with the hashtags #BoycottNFL, #GoodellMustGo, and #GetYourGameFaceOn. With the recent events taking place, someone was bound to take advantage of the story in attempts to create a viral image. However, with these twitter posts, it is clear that these posters want Roger Goodell to be replaced. In fact, woman’s advocacy groups are currently fighting for more action.
Even though CoverGirl had nothing to do with the NFL’s decisions regarding Ray Rice, they will clearly receive some negative attention with these edited ads. Advocates of the Goodell resignation or removal see the CoverGirl advertisements as a main source of fuel for the anti-Goodell fire. CoverGirl is the epitome of collateral damage in this situation.
CoverGirl has not yet called it quits with their “Get Your Game Face On!” campaign, however, their website has been offline for maintenance for a while. This unfortunate situation serves as a lesson for brands looking to become sponsors for large organizations.