FirstEngergy's "Unbranded" Branding Strategy

FirstEnergy is embarking on what the utility company calls an "unusually understated" brand advertising campaign. 

Developed with agency Marcus Thomas, Cleveland, the 30-second spot is FirstEnergy's first to not make any claims for, or even feature, the company, its staff, or even a logo until the last few seconds, when, in the client’s only mention, super-imposed type reads:“The new Dwayne Browder Field, built by FirstEnergy, the Cleveland Browns and the City of Cleveland.” 

The ad documents construction of this Cleveland football stadium that the company helped to build during the 2015 football season. This facility, in Cleveland’s Central Neighborhood, is the youth league stadium named for a local coach and community leader. Broward Field is FirstEnergy’s first community development project in partnership with the NFL Cleveland Browns. The utility is perhaps better known for FirstEnergy Stadium where the Browns play.



While the advertising goal was “branding,” the agency deployed a strategy that it calls “unbranding.” The spot is designed to make the connection between football and the stadium in which it is played by cutting between construction footage and one of the teams that will compete on the new field, the Browns-affiliated Cleveland MUNYFootball League Renegades. The Renegades’ coach Hardaway is shown saying, “to come from the field with the rocks and the glass, to where we are today?It’s something you dream about.”And “it’s time for the lights to shine on you gentlemen.” 

The TVspot airs live, on the local pre-game TV show, “Inside the Cleveland Browns.” In-stadium, a :60 version will run on the Jumbotron during all Browns games. An eight-minute documentary featuring additional coverage and interviews appears via YouTube and FirstEnergy's website. 


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