‘Game face’ right move, wrong time?

CoverGirl, the official beauty sponsor of the NFL, did not see this one coming when it released their NFL campaign encouraging women to get creative with makeup to support their favorite NFL team.

Covergirl Campaign

After TMZ released the elevator video of the domestic violence incident between Raven’s player Ray Rice and his then fiancé Janay Palmer, there has been a huge outcry sparking domestic violence awareness.  Also on the rise, the disapproval of Goodell and his failure to address the incident appropriately.

Covergirl original from website

The “Get your game face on!” campaign inspires unique looks using team colors and a little imagination.  But earlier this week, Mashable reported that the backlash towards NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell triggered a new type of advertisement using the Covergirl advertisement.

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The new Photoshopped image took Twitter by storm with the hashtag #GoodellMustGo, spurring media frenzy within a couple of hours.

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According to Mashable, the women’s advocacy group, Ultraviolet, also used this hashtag over the weekend as they flew banners over several NFL stadiums, including University of Phoenix Stadium during the Arizona Cardinal’s game.

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“Ultraviolet has not come forward as the creators of the Photoshopped CoverGirl image, nor has the group responded to Mashable’s request for comment,” Mashable reported.

Since then The Washington Post reported that CoverGirl will maintain its controversial sponsorship; CoverGirl issued the following statement on their Facebook page:

“As a brand that has always supported women and stood for female empowerment, COVERGIRL believes domestic violence is completely unacceptable. We developed our NFL program to celebrate the more than 80 million female football fans. In light of recent events, we have encouraged the NFL to take swift action on their path forward to address the issue of domestic violence.”

Do you think CoverGirl made the right move?  Do you think they should have pulled their “Get your game face on!” campaign and their NFL sponsorship or did CoverGirl make the correct choice by moving forward with the campaign?

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10 Responses to ‘Game face’ right move, wrong time?

  1. Gretchen Burnton says:

    I definitely think CoverGirl made the wrong move in moving forward with the campaign. PR professionals dealing with NFL controversy seem to have only one move this year– sweeping it under the rug.

    While I understand that CoverGirl’s campaign is celebrating female football fans, but given recent events, moving forward with the campaign with the NFL goes against their female empowerment stance. The NFL has horribly handled the Ray Rice controversy, spurring multiple domestic violence campaigns in retaliation including the #whistayed #whyileft Twitter campaign, a campaign started by author Beverly Gooden. Why would CoverGirl continue their ties with the NFL considering this?

    It’s sad that the NFL can get away with their poor handling of this controversial matter simply because they’re such a big organization and plenty of money comes from having ties with them. It’s frustrating that no PR professionals of big name organizations like CoverGirl are working to change their campaigns in light of recent events. Taking the time and money to create a new campaign could truly help the brand and create a new and bigger following, if done right.

  2. Ashley Black says:

    Meenah,

    I enjoyed reading your blog post and find this to be a very difficult situation. If there had not been so many domestic abuse incidents in the NFL recently, then this may have been a great campaign. However, I think if the CoverGirl PR team would have taken the potential risks into more consideration then they may not have run this campaign at this time. Although I do not think CoverGirl should have ran this ad during this time of heat, I do not blame CoverGirl for this “PR nightmare.”

    I think it is unfortunate that CoverGirl is associated with this image because they have always promoted a “girl next door,” and wholesome look for women. I also think it is unfair for the model in the image that now sees herself all over the Internet with a black eye. However, when I first saw this altered image, I did not in any way perceive it as CoverGirl advocating for domestic abuse. I understood that the Photoshop was done to send a message to the NFL. This is a very serious problem that is occurring in the league and unfortunately, CoverGirl had to experience backlash because certain people wanted to make a point.

    I think that CoverGirl had a pretty reasonable statement but could have added that the company apologizes for the misrepresentation of their brand by the altered photo. I also think that if CoverGirl wants to continue to promote the NFL, then maybe it would have been a good idea to bring some light about all of the other players that do give back to our community and do not support violence against women.

    Again, I think this is a very tricky PR situation and I am not sure what the exact answer is but I do think the timing of the campaign could have been moved in order to prevent this mess.

    -Ashley Black

  3. Ciara Archer says:

    Unfortunately for CoverGirl, I think their campaign came at an inconvenient time. However, I respect their continued support of their brand. This act of Domestic Violence is awful but it was not the act of the entire NFL; in fact, many players spoke out against the violence and condemned the acts.

    By pulling the ad, I think CoverGirl could have faced the risk of looking like women do not have a voice in the NFL. While perhaps their imaging provided a platform for those angered to express their frustration, I think that CoverGirl should take this idea into consideration. No, not to make images of women with black eyes, but to show that women can not be beaten down and can put their “game face on” to speak out against the issues of domestic violence.

    Perhaps if they changed their marketing a little, to not only show the love women have for sports (and that it is okay for women to love sports), but to also have a voice in the issue (maybe by showing football players with CoverGirl models in solidarity). If CoverGirl speaks out, and the NFL partners with them, this issue can be taken more seriously and change can happen.

  4. Lily Reynolds says:

    After multiple domestic abuse cases involving NFL players and women have sparked serious controversy in the past several weeks, CoverGirl should have pulled their “Get Your Game Face On” campaign.

    If CoverGirl wanted to show that they do not support domestic violence, they should’ve taken a stand and pulled the campaign. Yes, that’s an entire project with a huge organization gone down the drain, but if they wanted to keep the trust and loyalty of their audience (which, obviously, is dominantly women), the beauty company should not have gone through with it.

    If anything, CoverGirl could have started their own conversation against domestic abuse by starting a new campaign that explains why they chose not to go through with the original project. They could have spread awareness about this issue, instead they’re following Goodell’s model and continuing to sweep domestic violence issues under the rug.

  5. Megan Conner says:

    I think CoverGirl has been put into a very difficult position with their “Get Your Game Face On!” campaign with the NFL. The message that they are trying to convey is a positive one; however, with all the negative press that the NFL is receiving right now from the numerous domestic violence cases, it makes it hard for CoverGirl to continue their positive message. Campaigns, like the one CoverGirl is doing, are planned months prior to being implemented. Unfortunately, CoverGirl could not have seen this coming.

    I think CoverGirl should have pulled their campaign with the NFL or at least put it on hold for the time being. CoverGirl represents and supports female empowerment and with domestic violence constantly on the NFL’s radar lately, it completely contradicts what CoverGirl stands for. I am sure that CoverGirl has invested millions of dollars into this campaign and it would hurt their company if they pulled it; however, there has been a lot of backlash from CoverGirl customers and they have resorted to boycotting the company. I think it would be in the best interest of the company to pull the campaign to help the reputation and sales later on.

  6. Courtney Merz says:

    I, as well, find it very head scratching why CoverGirl would continue with the campaign while the domestic violence case with Ray Rice is so fresh. Even though CoverGirl is the beauty sponsor of the NFL, this campaign should have been pulled when the initial news came out. PR professionals gave too much room for this campaign to head South and it should have been realized before it was released to the public. It is hard for PR professionals to pull the campaign they have spent so much time and money on, but you never know what event can take place during the campaign that can turn a tasteful campaign to a poor one. The best thing CoverGirl can do at this point is cut their losses and head back to the drawing board to fix this one.

  7. Caelen Demos says:

    I think that in this situation. CoverGirl made the right decision. Their goal does not seem to be to support the NFL, but to support the millions of female fans. If they were to leave the campaign, they would be leaving the female fans hanging, instead of isolating the NFL. Now, they have created a platform to stand by their fans by sticking with the campaign. They have chosen the brave approach, as opposed to cowardly backing out of their campaign in crisis.

  8. Shirin Ahmadpour says:

    Unless there are serious, drastic repercussions to an ad campaign I do not think it is wise for a company to withdraw or remove a campaign. It is like an admission of fault, and in CoverGirl’s case they did not actually do anything. Their statement was perfect, their campaign represents female football fans and female makeup wearers. The act of a recent domestic violence case does not mean that CoverGirl supports football players who take such action. I would love to find out who released the Photoshopped ad, and do think that that was a clever piece of propaganda for activists against domestic violence, I just don’t think it should have been taken against CoverGirl. This is a fun ad campaign, that regardless of the Ray Rice controversy, I think will be successful. I see women sporting Cardinal color eye shadow all the time now.

  9. Sepeedeh Hashemian says:

    Meenah,

    I think that it is awful that CoverGirl is continuing as the official beauty sponsor of the NFL. Their response to all the backlash was very dismissive. As a brand that stands for women empowerment, they have a funny way of showing it. I think that the appropriate response would have been to pull out of the NFL contract and start a campaign focused on empowering women against domestic violence. While I understand that large companies like this have to do what’s best for business, CoverGirl’s actions are conflicting with their branding and overall image. No one wants to support a business that can’t stand by their own mission.

    Great post!

    Sepeedeh

  10. Meenah Rincon says:

    Great point Gretchen! Although I do agree that the NFL handled the Ray Rice situation poorly, I do think that CoverGirl shouldn’t stop from going forward with their campaign. Regardless of the Rice situation, the NFL still has a big female following. What better way to represent them and get publicity at the same time?

    When I searched #GoodellMustGo on Twitter, the top recommended pages were NFL, Ultraviolet, and CoverGirl. This was not their intended publicity and I am a big believer that not all publicity is good publicity, but the statement they released was very strategic in which at the height of their campaign controversy they were able to have their opinion on domestic violence heard and hopefully, have an influence on the NFL.

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