The NFL, which has been under fire this season for how it has handled player domestic violence cases, will use some of its ad time during the Super Bowl for an anti-domestic violence public service announcement.
The league will donate 30 seconds of commercial airtime during the first quarter for the PSA on behalf of No More, an organization formed in 2013 to combat domestic violence and sexual assault. The NFL covered the production costs for the Super Bowl spot and it was created by Grey, the NFL's ad agency. Grey donated its time for the ad, according to the agency.
Grey is also expected to produce a regular brand ad for the league that will run during the game.
The PSA features a woman calling 911. She pretends to order a pizza as she covertly alerts the operator that her abuser is in her house. The ad does not include any NFL branding. It directs viewers to visit No More's website (nomore.org).
No More has been running PSAs during NFL games all year and has experienced increased visits to its web site as a result. The group is expected to post the Super Bowl ad on its web site soon here. The NFL first shared the ad with the Wall Street Journal.
"As we learned from the initial No More spots, talking about domestic violence in a way that includes 'real world' vernacular and situations was impactful," an NFL spokeswoman said in an email to Ad Age. "Grey Advertising was inspired to continue the conversation with this 'real world' approach and wanted to develop a spot that was inspired by real calls with a domestic violence victim making a call for help under the guise of a call for a pizza delivery."
The NFL has been criticized this season for how it disciplines players accused of domestic violence. The issue dominated the headlines for several weeks last year when video surfaced of then-Baltimore Raven Ray Rice punching his wife.
While game ratings don't appear to have suffered, the league's perception is down, according to YouGov BrandIndex. YouGov, which measures daily brand consumer perception, stated last week that the NFL's score was about half of what it was one year ago. But "the good news for the NFL is that [positive] 'Buzz' [score] has been on a steady increase since mid-December, as the regular season was wrapping up and the playoff match-ups were being finalized," YouGov stated.
The Super Bowl PSA comes as a women's rights group called UltraViolet gains more attention for a campaign that takes direct aim at the NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, for the league's handling of domestic violence cases. An online ad shows a football player tackling a woman, as a voiceover says "Let's take domestic violence out of football."