Wednesday, February 22, 2006

New Raiders Ad Campaign?

As far as I know, the Raiders don’t yet have a new advertising campaign. But word is that they will soon embark on one to support their new ticket program. I have some ideas.

Let’s first dispense with the notion that big advertising agencies are the key to a successful campaign. Did you see those Super Bowl commercials at $2 million each? Many were awful and, worse, ineffective. Why spend $2 million when you can read Raider Take for free?


A basic tool of the marketing trade is what is called the “creative brief.” The creative brief is a strategic road map to an effective advertising campaign. It identifies such things as the following: Target Audience, Objective, Rational Benefit, Emotional Appeal, and Tonality (personality). So let’s start with a creative brief.

The TARGET AUDIENCE is football fans in the Bay Area and outlying regions. The OBJECTIVE is not only to maintain existing Raiders fans but to also grow new fans. Who are these fans? They are people you and I already know, mainly casual football fans who avoid Raiders games because of various misperceptions.

(Please don’t scold me for trying to poison the Raiders well with casual football fans. We need bodies in the Coliseum. Preaching to the choir of 40,000 won’t keep the Raiders in Oakland. We need to welcome new Raiders fans into the fold, even if they don’t know the difference between Heidi and Cindy or the Mad Stork and the Crazy Chicken. Once they get a taste of being a Raiders fan, the knowledge and dedication will follow.)

The RATIONAL BENEFIT is that an autumn Sunday at the Coliseum is worth your entertainment dollars. There is nothing like it in the NFL, let alone the Bay Area. If you make a day out of it—and that is very easy to do—then you are buying six or eight hours of entertainment and camaraderie for as low as $26 plus parking.

Winning also provides a rational benefit, as it promises excellent football with a positive outcome. But you can’t build your advertising around winning when you’ve only won nine games over the past two years. In fact, in today’s parity-ridden NFL, when yesterday’s winner is tomorrow’s loser, you must build your marketing foundation on something more stable than winning.

This is where the EMOTIONAL APPEAL comes into play. Now, the worst tactic would be to “rebrand” the Raiders as something they are not, and to pretend that Raiders games are all sugar and lollipops, like sipping a cappuccino while watching the Rams run around green carpet in a temperature-controlled dome (and I guarantee you that there are ad agencies out there who would do just that).

In fact, the Raiders don’t need to be less of what they are. Rather, they need to be more of what they are. The best way to remain true to the identity of the Raiders while broadening the team’s appeal is to simply correct the conventional wisdom about what it means to be a Raiders fan:

OLD: violent, dangerous, mean, exclusive, scary, unwelcoming.

NEW: real, intense, hardcore, diverse, passionate, loyal, welcoming.

So how do we deliver this new conventional wisdom to our target audience? Well, the Bay Area is renowned for its countercultural roots and innovative thinking, for its diversity, individuality and originality. Sound familiar? Sounds like the Raiders to me. So the emotional key is to tap into the truth of the Raiders as an organization that embodies the virtues of the Bay Area. That is how you emotionally grab your target audience and guide the TONALITY of your campaign.

In his farewell column in the San Francisco Chronicle, Ira Miller wrote this about Al Davis: “Say what you want about the man, no one has been more consistent in his approach.” That, friends, is the definition of “real” and “original” and “authentic,” and the same could be said of Levi-Strauss, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Robert Mondavi, the Grateful Dead and any number of Bay Area icons who revolutionized their respective industries and gained mass “cult” status along the way.

In fact, in the conformity-based Microsoft world of the NFL, the Raiders are Apple, the renegades who succeed (and fail) on their own terms. How did Apple stage its comeback? By asking us to “Think Different.” Brilliant! They didn’t try to fit in. They became more, not less, of what they are. They went on the offensive and, along the way, they conquered hearts and minds and customers.

It’s interesting that the Raiders, who are so aggressive, unique and confident in how they run their organization, have been relatively timid when it comes to local marketing (although the recently disbanded OFMA might have been a big part of that problem). Now the time has come, in my opinion, for the Raiders to aggressively claim their Bay Area cultural turf.


Thus, I unveil my fictional advertising campaign: “Real Football.” and the supporting concepts of Authenticity, Individuality, Originality and Legacy (and the welcoming verb “embrace”):

Concept #1
HEADLINE: Embrace Authenticity
ARTWORK: A photo of a Raiders player being embraced by the Black Hole after a touchdown
TAGLINE: Real Football.

Concept #2
HEADLINE: Embrace Individuality

ARTWORK: A photo of a group of geared-up fans (including skulls, pirates, etc.) exhibiting the expressive personalities and multicultural spirit of the Raiders fan base
TAGLINE: Real Football.

Concept #3
HEADLINE: Embrace Originality
ARTWORK: A photo of Al Davis and Randy Moss talking football (yes, Al Davis…Quit hiding the guy, celebrate him, he’s the original football outlaw).
TAGLINE: Real Football.

Concept #4
HEADLINE: Embrace Legacy
ARTWORK: The classic shot of the Raiders helmet with the three Lombardi trophies
TAGLINE: Real Football.

Complexity is the enemy of good advertising. So I would focus solely on these four creative concepts (headlines and images), all of which synergize with the core message and tagline. Then I would simply hammer the hell out of them in print, on the web and on billboards.

(I would also distribute free posters of the advertisements to sports bars and taverns across the Bay Area, and would also sell these posters at cost to Raiders fans. Such posters would be nice form of “viral marketing,” which is the process of empowering others to spread your message.)

And that concludes my unsolicited two cents regarding how the Raiders could approach their advertising in the coming months.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

RT-here's my TV spot to accompany your print/web campaign....
it opens with a long shot of a poorly lit room with weapons and trophies barely visible in the background. It is obviously the secret meeting place of some ancient brotherhood. As the camera zooms in we see a table of men seated at one end; it is a panel of Raider greats, Tatum, Shell, Stabler, Davidson, Atkinson, Long, Biletnikoff [you get the picture]. A woman and small girl, maybe 10 years old, enter. A conversation begins:
Atkinson: Why do you want to join Raider Nation?
Little Girl: is my favorite color and my puppy's name is Silver and [starts to twitch] I hate the #@$%^&! Broncos and KC can &$%#^( and Marty Schotten--
Panel: They're in!

Next a man rides in on a big black hog in full leathers, a half empty bottle of Cuervo in one hand. He steps off the bike and approaches the panel...

Panel: He's in!

Next a fortyish couple walks in looking like Joe and Jane from Napa...

Panel: why do you want to join Raider Nation?

Joe and Jane: We like to spend our Sundays with a nice chardonnay, maybe take in the theatre or a gallery but this football thing just---

Long: I'm sorry, the Niners fan club is two doors down.

Cue Autumn Wind. Fade to black. The following words appear: "Raider Nation: Applications Now Being Accepted"

10:31 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

That's the spirit, LK! Creative and confident and compelling.

The only thing I'd say is that we need Joe and Jane, too. Maybe they can gain admittance by turning in their 49ers gear and drinking mountain-grown old vine Zinfandel?

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RT--practical to the last! OK, so Joe and Jane walk in and pile their Niner gear on the table in front of the Raider Greats...

Joe and Jane: "this is boring, it doesn't fit anymore...we need a change"

Biker dude steps up and pours them each a shot of tequila [with his fingers in the glass]... Tatum throws Jane a black jersey, #32...

Panel: Welcome to Raider Nation!
They toast, fade to black etc...

Home Amy Trask is reading today....

11:30 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

RT - Your creative marketing ideas are AWESOME!

Being different, unique, and original should resonate with most Raider fans. Celebrating our history, tradition, diversity, and rugged individualism should appeal to a broad spectrum of casual football fans especially with the reduced ticket prices.

We need to get Amy Trask to hire you as an off-site, paid consultant.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Thank you Calico Jack! I appreciate your feedback, as your opinions are held in high regard here at RT headquarters.

LK, great solution. Joe and Jane just needed to be re-educated by the Assassin!

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say that this is a very well thought out and interesting ad campaign. I like it. It resonates with the old fans - fans that may have given up, and new fans - fans that want to identify with a team. The Raiders are one of the most recognizable brands in all of sports. This capitalizes on this and is on the right track. Very good.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Thanks NY Raider, I consider "SOB" to be the ultimate term of endearment coming from New York! I hope you can turn 70% into 100% by September. We await your arrival. Maybe we can get Gorilla Rilla to pick you up at the airport. (I earn my living and support my Raiders habit as a marketing consultant).

Brad and Michael, I appreciate your kind feedback.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


How you describe the "new" Raider fan is/was the old Raider fan. Real old.

The original Oakland Raider fan was loud, passionate, loyal, and, importantly, non-violent. During the 1960's there were no fights at Raider games, either at Frank Youell Field or the Oakland Coliseum. I know of what I speak having seen entire seasons worth of games at both venues.

An important footnote to all this is that the original Oakland Raider fan had a great deal of civic pride and love of community. It was important that Oakland have a team to call its own. I do not buy into this notion that the team is merely the "Raiders" or the "Al Davis Raiders" and it doesn't matter where the team calls home. They are the OAKLAND RAIDERS, the word "Oakland" just as much a part of the team name as "Raiders."

By the way, I attended the first Oakland Raider game ever played, July 31, 1960, at Kezar Stadium.

Charles Oakey
San Diego, Ca.

4:42 PM  
Blogger frkyraider said...

wow, well done and well said RT!!!! love your line of thinking man.

i feel the raiders are trying to do just what you proposed by being more of what we are instead of changing to something new. conformity is death.

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe and Jane just won the coin toss; we're picking 7th

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ad campaigns are great, but the real way to sell tickets is simple: Just Win Baby.

When we're good ('00-'02) we sell out.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Winning may cure everything, but the Raider Nation cannot wait for bandwagoners to save the day and keep the Raiders in Oakland. We need new homegrown fans who are in it for more than the thrill of victory. We need fans like you and me who persist through the agony of defeat.

No NFL team, in the era of parity and free agency, should build its business and marketing plan on an assumption of winning. It would be akin to building gas stations during a major oil shortage.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Here's a simple, extremely cost effective marketing idea that would guarentee that more tickets are sold;

Have a bobblehead doll day for each home game. One game have a past player (ie. The Snake), the next game a present player (ie. Moss).

You would be amazed at how a fan-friendly, simple gimmick draws fans. I have seen it first-hand at LA Clipper games. This type of promotion draws in more "casual" fans like women and children. It also draws in the hard-core fans who collect Raider memoribilia. Heck, be a season ticket holder and collect the whole set!

As soon as we get RT on Al's payroll as a Marketing Director, we can all take turns nominating who we want for each home game bobblehead day. Count me in for a Jack "They call me the Assasin" Tatum Day.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Excellent! We could have Lester Hayes Day, too...Those bobbleheads would be stuck to everything.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

How about a Jeff Hostetler bobblehead day, where each part bobbles and...with just a little rough housing...can completely fall off?

5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...Or, you could have a Derrick Gibson bobblehead day, where you remove the top half of scalp, and find it empty inside.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all quiet on the Raiders front as the Turk is busy honing his scythe to to razor sharpness, the better to remove a head in a single blow and achieve cap compliance...Gibson's headless carcass is already hanging fom the yardarm; who's next!? [Sorry, too much Braveheart this weekend...]

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LK, I love your angle. You said it much better then I could. Remember though, Delawrence,(Deforestgump), Grant, & Denard,(Retard),Walker, were also waived, only to later return. You have to sleep with one eye open, when you're a Raiders fan.

4:42 PM  

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