The NFL is the king of branding. Their TV and licensing contracts are no doubt some of the most valuable ones out there. And of course, the Super Bowl® is one of the most well known events — and a misunderstood trademark.
Here in the Washington, D.C. area every summer and fall brings talk of the Redskins, and the always lofty expectations for the team. I heard on the radio this week that the start quarterback, RG3 (Robert Griffin III), was fined for wearing non-conforming apparel during the warm-ups of a preseason game. He didn’t even play in the game. See CBSSports.com article: Redskins QB Robert Griffin fined $10,000 for apparel violation.
The NFL had every right, I presume, to contractually protect Nike, whose apparel the players and teams wear. So on the one hand, they had to discipline RG3 so that others wouldn’t do the same in the future. But on the other hand, they made news out of the issue and caused the media to then cover and mention that RG3 is endorsed by Adidas. And, as you can see here, the media then published photos of RG3 in the Adidas warm-ups before the game.
So perhaps they would be best to contemplate the Streisand Effect — by attempting to quash the non-conforming apparel, they actually brought increased attention to it.
Image by USATSI via CBSSports.com
Isn’t the Streisand Effect working in adidas’ favor here? They get reinforcement that RG3 is an adidas athlete, when without the brouhaha no one would care.
But the NFL’s marketing partner is Nike. So they brought attention to their competitor, and non official outfitter, by dealing with it this way.