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NFL Ads Try To Polish Soiled Image

In an attempt to polish an image soiled by the thuggery of some of its top players, the National Football League is launching an ad campaign that focuses on some of its more positive role models. The TV efforts, from BBDO Worldwide, are borrowing the playbook, so to speak, of industries like Big Oil and the big drug companies, which have relied on the magic of Madison Avenue to redeem their public images.

The idea is to spotlight the good behavior of many of its players; the NFL has its works cut out. In just the last couple weeks, Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons pleaded guilty to a felony dog-fighting charge, while Lance Briggs of the Chicago Bears was nailed for leaving the scene of an accident after he totaled his $350,000 Lamborghini.

The new spots feature five players, picked for their clean-cut images, doing things like reading to their kids and talking to their mothers. They are set to run through the season on television and Web sites, including "It's as simple as this," says Lisa Baird, senior vice president for marketing at the National Football League in New York. "We're going to do everything necessary to protect the strength of our brand."

Read the whole story at The New York Times »

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