Marketing 101 – Know Your Audience!

Have you seen the ad campaign the NFL is running these days for its women’s apparel? If you watch any football at all, they would be impossible to miss, even if you DVR the games! As a lifelong football fan, who happens to be a woman, these spots drive me nuts.

If you haven’t seen the ads – they all go something like this:

  1. Woman having argument with her boyfriend or husband as she angrily throws NFL apparel at him, and often storms out
  2. “You Don’t Own Me” plays in the background
  3. Boyfriend or husband arrives at girlfriend or wife’s door to find her looking adorable and happy in her very own female sized NFL apparel
  4. Joy to the world!

Does the NFL have any women working for them in their marketing department? Seeing these ubiquitous ads, it is hard to imagine that they do! Who are they marketing this stuff to – men or women? I assume it is being marketed to women, as they are the ones who purchase the actual items in the ads? If this is the case – how does this premise sell to female NFL fans (who make up a solid 40% of the fanbase and purchase 46% of official NFL Merchandise*)? It is problematic on several fronts:

  1. It assumes that women are only football fans if their husbands or boyfriends are – and that you root for the same team!
  2. Why the fake fight then about the men’s jerseys – is it not a strong enough premise to let women know that they now have options beyond men’s sized apparel or the awful pink and/or bedazzled NFL apparel previously marketed to women?

This ad campaign is a classic example of not knowing your audience. If women are your target audience, then these ads do not understand what would motivate said audience to take the desired action – in this case, purchasing NFL women’s apparel. Why is it cast as an act of defiance to buy your own jersey or t-shirt? I’m thrilled to know that the NFL is finally starting to make licensed apparel that is actually sized for women and not pink or glittery. But these ads make me not want to buy any and I’m pretty sure I’m in their female demographic sweet spot.

Lesson for all businesses, large and small – take the time to get to know your audience(s) and create offers that genuinely speak to their needs. I guarantee you’ll be pleased with the results!

* From

View the ad on YouTube here.

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