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Bold Branding Watch: NFL Ad Scores, Everybody Wins

Who doesn’t love the Kiss Cam? It’s a feel-good part of many American sports games, where cameras for the in-stadium screen search the crowd and land on various couples. When the couples kiss, the crowd goes wild. The thing is, those couples tend to be very “safe” — heterosexual, same race, etc.

But on Valentine’s Day, the Hallmark holiday of love, the old Kiss Cam took a surprising turn. For the better, if you ask me. Footage from the Pro Bowl in Orlando was released as a PSA about love. All love. It’s the latest in the “Love Has No Labels” campaign from the Ad Council, and it may be their most powerful execution to date. It is a quintessential example of bold branding.

It’s pretty amazing that a sport known for its “manliness” would team up with the Ad Council to put forth a message that is so “liberal”, for lack of a better word. Few would argue that the NFL is known for its acceptance of homosexual players on the field. But the video features both gay men and gay women – including a woman who survived the Orlando nightclub tragedy – showing their love for each other as they kiss on camera.

The PSA also shows love in many other forms: between bi-racial couples; between a man and a woman in a wheelchair; between children who have Down Syndrome. Each moment of the video allows us to see different kinds of love – and to watch those in the crowd as they are (mostly) pleasantly surprised by the Kiss Cam.

The video’s message is simple: love is more powerful than any hate. The message is also incredibly powerful, especially given that it was released during the greatest socio-political division many NFL fans have ever witnessed. That also makes the NFL very brave. Suddenly their brand means so much more to me. I hope that brand bravery will resonate with the majority of others as well.


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