Saying “No More” to NFL’s contrived and tone-deaf campaign against domestic violence.

January 19, 2015

What do you think of the NFL’s “No More” campaign against domestic violence? If you watch football on TV, the commercials are ubiquitous. NFL players look directly into camera and tell us, in so many different ways, “no more making excuses” when it comes to ignoring domestic violence. In other commercials non-players struggle to “start a conversation.” Men get choked up. Women cry. This stuff is sooooo hard to talk about.

The NFL created the “No More” campaign in response to the withering criticism it experienced for insufficiently penalizing star player, Ray Rice (two games) after a tape came out depicting him knocking out his fiancé in an elevator and then callously dragging her away. The NFL claimed it had never seen the tape, almost certainly a lie. The story blew up all over the world. If that wasn’t bad enough, another star player, Adrian Peterson, was busted for beating the crap out of his very young son with a stick. Peterson, in a pathetic story, claimed it was not abuse because ‘getting beat’ was how he was brought up. The NFL brand and its chief steward, Roger Goodell, took a well-deserved pounding for their indecisive and late reaction, which continues to this day.

Well, I’m also calling bullshit on their campaign. I say “no more” to these annoying and forced commercials. And so are a number of my friends on facebook, many well-known advertising professionals. I’ll let their comments speak for themselves.

These (commercials) are going to do absolutely nothing to help the issue. First of all they’re a complete lie and second they don’t confront, raise awareness, make a point…etc. Nothing. They’re an NFL whitewash…The NFL stonewalled the conversation and now they have the balls to say, “let’s start a conversation.” Unbelievably bad form. -David Baldwin

DO something authentically remarkable and different, and you won’t have to make shitty ads about a significant issue. -Jonathan Hoffman

I HATE them. Why? It’s built on the idea that this really happened behind the scenes. Contrived BS. It’s a lie. -Brian Brooker

Drama soufflé with drama sprinkles. -Katherine Green

Another friend commented the commercials were better than doing nothing. Barely. In my opinion, the NFL is mostly advertising its profound tone-deafness. The ‘crying women’ commercials are painful to watch NOT for the intended reason (the difficult subject matter) but on account of how cloying they are.

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We all know these ‘characters’ are not spontaneously crying. To portray them as behind the scenes and breaking down is clumsy at best, at worst callous and insincere. In the spots featuring real athletes, the men look like meatheads reading cue cards. I don’t believe a word. With the “No More” campaign, the NFL players and the brand come off as bulls in a china shop.

Like a lot of people in this country I love watching pro football. I grew up with the NFL. I also create advertising for a living and have done so for a very long time. Finally, and most importantly, I have a wife and three daughters. Save for the abused themselves, I don’t think there can be a more qualified person than me when it comes to calling bullshit on this campaign.

3 Responses to “Saying “No More” to NFL’s contrived and tone-deaf campaign against domestic violence.”

  1. Kris said

    If I were to be able to address the NFL about these commercials.. This is what I would say..
    Dear NFL,
    While I commend your effort to bring attention to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault with your “No More” Campaign, I am compelled to say that the delivery of the message you are trying to send falls flat.
    As a former victim, though I prefer to label myself as a survivor, your campaign is executing a message that anyone who has been subject to these forms of abuse already knows..it is an extremely difficult subject to talk about…
    AND NONE OF YOU ARE TALKING..
    You, the NFL, can’t start the conversation..and if the athletes and non-athletes in your commercials can’t even get their words out, how do you expect the whole world watching their silence to be empowered to be vocal???
    I was “that” girl.. The one you portray… My cries for help went unheard..because I let them. I couldn’t talk about it. We live in a culture of blame and shame. If I was going to have that conversation, no one could start that conversation for me.. I had to find my voice..BREAK MY OWN SILENCE..
    And I did..eventually..
    At the lowest point in my life where I would have rather died than endure one more day of the life I was living, I was told to make a call to the Domestic Violence Project, that it was time to accept the fact that I needed help or my silence would swallow me whole.
    That was the call that saved my life..
    Looking back, that was the day I realized the importance of SPEAKING OUT…
    Now, it was no easy process. I didn’t find my voice immediately. It took time, understanding, acceptance of my demons and that I couldn’t fight them alone, and most importantly, it took someone to listen, relate, deflect the self-blame I had created. I was given the ability to speak freely without fear, without judgement, without ridicule..and the conversation started and ended with ME..
    So, if you want your message to be clear, don’t have your athletes and non-athletes, with the world as their audience, saying NOTHING. The absence of their words speaks volumes and not in the way you are intending. Let them be brave enough to talk about it. Let them start the conversation. You’ve provided the biggest stage a survivor could ask for, one in which everyone is listening. Give them something to listen to. Actually BREAK the SILENCE. Our voices are the most powerful tool we have. If you want to make a difference, promote that it’s okay to use that voice, make something that’s clearly difficult to talk about something that we ALL talk about. Only then can we begin to end the violence.

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