Ahead of the Super Bowl, a New York Times Ad Tells a Harrowing N.F.L. Tale of Death and Deception

Spot Is Latest to Highlight Impact of the Times' Reporting

Published On
Jan 31, 2018

Editor's Pick

Super Bowl season is upon us, so the New York Times has jumped on the frenzy around the country's most beloved sport to tout its impactful reporting around N.F.L. -- in this case, the examination of ties between football players' head trauma and their eventual debilitation or, in some cases, death.

Times headlines starting from 1990 appear one by one: The first is a simple announcement from 1990 of then-rookie Junior Seau entering the N.F.L. draft. More headlines go on to chart his rise as a linebacker in the N.F.L. but then things take a dark turn with the story of Seau's suspected suicide at the age of 43. It all unravels from there, the words revealing brain disease tied to the sport, denial, cover-ups and then ultimately, a change in the N.F.L.'s concussion protocol at the end of last year.

The ad is just the latest in The New York Times' "Truth Has a Voice" 2018 brand campaign that highlights the impact of Times coverage. It began earlier this year with a Golden Globes spot highlighting the publication's sexual harassment investigations.

"We've done a lot of groundbreaking reporting that's had an outsize impact," Senior VP, Head of Brand David Rubin told Ad Age during the first ad's launch. "What identifies a lot of our investigative reporting is that we hold truth to power, and we do so without fear or favor. We know that's a spark to help people want to subscribe."

This year's work was born from the "The Truth Is Hard" campaign from Droga5 New York that debuted during the 2017 Oscars. Forthcoming executions will hinge on Times investigations around Russian doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics and its corruption reporting on FIFA officials from 2015.