RUSH: I want to run a theory by you. I want to see what you think of this. We’re swerving now to the National Football League since I happened to mention Colin Kaepernick taking a knee on Mars if there is a flag there. You know, folks, I’ve always reminded you, because it’s true, that advertising is always aimed at young people.
And it’s not because advertisers like young people versus old people. It’s that young people’s minds haven’t yet been fully made up. Their brand preferences have not been permanently stamped in their psyche, in their brains, and in their behavior. This is why beer commercials, for example, are advertised for teenagers and people in their early twenties. You don’t advertise beer for people in their forties, fifties. They’ve got their brand. They’re not gonna change.
By the time they’re 40 or 50, if you’re a beer manufacturer or any other advertiser, your chance of getting them en masse has long since passed. So you have to focus — and all advertising does — on the young, and primarily the demographic of 18 to 24, and, at its widest expanse, 18 to 34. In addition, I’ve always pointed out to you that advertising — good advertising, effective advertising — is a window into the American culture.
Because advertising agencies and their creative people must devise ways to reach their target audience in ways that their audiences are gonna want to watch or read or absorb the commercial message, not reject it or not tune it out. So advertising creative directors have to ascertain cultural preferences, cultural existence, cultural norms of the demographic they are aiming at. So given that I have oftentimes reminded everybody of this, let us now turn our attention to the NFL and what is happening there.
And let me ask you another question. Could all of this that is happening in the NFL right now be being done on purpose? Could we be witnessing a marketing plan that has not been announced? And good marketing plans are never announced; they’re just executed. A marketing plan is designed to separate people from their money. You don’t tell ’em how you’re gonna do it because that prepares them for it. You just execute the plan.
What if, ladies and gentlemen, the National Football League believes all of the polling and survey data that shows American Millennials are over 50% socialist; that an even greater number of them admire socialism and dictators and tyrants? Those polls are out there. We have mentioned them to you. We’ve chalked it up to the lousy American public and higher education system. But nevertheless, the data is there. We know of the snowflake tendencies on college campi. We know pretty much where American Millennials are en masse.
Not all of them, of course. There are exceptions every, but the majority of American Millennials appear to be perfectly fine with socialism. They have sympathies toward minority groups. They are, in many instances, what would be termed social justice warriors. And so I’m asking you: What if allowing the protests of the flag, allowing what appear to be protests of the military, allowing all of these things that the players are doing that echoes behavior of social justice warriors…? What if all of this is a marketing plan to get Millennials interested in the game?
Remember, the NFL doesn’t worry about trying to get 45-, 50-, even 35- or 40-year-old people interested in the game. The evidence is they had ’em. The evidence is, in the NFL, up until the last two years, has been the most profitable business in the world, sports business. It has been the most popular. It was on a steady financial gross revenue and profit uptick — and then, two years ago, the ratings began to decline a little bit. And that coincided with what? It coincided with all this news blowing up about concussions and how dangerous the game is to play.
I know that argues against what I’m saying because you have more and more young parents say, “I don’t want my kids playing this game. That game scrambles kids’ brains! It ruins people, makes ’em sick. They commit suicide at age 45. I don’t want my kids doing that, Mabel!” But, on the other hand, if you’re the NFL you have to find a way to get young people interested in the game, and if television viewing is down, the actual sitting in front of a TV set and watching is down, if they’re watching hand-held screens like iPhones and iPads?
Well, you don’t own their attention in those circumstances. When you’re at home and you’re sitting on a sofa or chair and you’re watching the game on TV, you’ve made a commitment to watch it. When you’re running around out there and you have the phone in the palm of your hand or whatever, you’re doing a lot of other things while that opportunity to watch an NFL game is on. So what if what’s happening here is a purposeful marketing plan designed to…? Oh, one other key element. Everything’s become politicized.
Everything in our culture is politicized, and young Millennials accept it. So you politicize the game, you steer it to the left where you think most of young people are because you believe the polling data and the surveys. So what if all this is a conscious effort to take a hit for a while, while angering your current-but-aged fan base in an effort to attract the young demographic of 18 to 34 where they live, how they think. And if you believe all the stuff about how liberal they are and how much they admire socialism, then that’s what you would want your league to appear to be, at least sympathetic.
If they buy into the idea that Millennials are indeed social justice warriors, then would it make sense for the NFL to be doing what they’re doing to try to grab those young people and convert them into lifetime fans and customers? (interruption) Well, “Once you get them, what do you sell to ’em?” That’s another thing. That will have to change too. But you figure that out later. The first thing you have to do is get them. But if they’re turned off by the injury aspect — if they’re turned off by the scrambling of brains, CTE; if they’re turned off by all of the stuff going on — then why not turn the league into basically a junior league version of the Democrat Party where everything’s litigated?
Everything’s in court. Lawyers are involved in everything. You really go after domestic abuse. You go after spousal abuse. You go after the mistreatment of women like it’s never been gone after. You put your players in jail. You try to put ’em in jail. You hold ’em to high standards even if they’re your marquee players. The NFL is doing all of this. Now, if this is their plan, I don’t know if they calculated just how many of the existing fan base would tell ’em to take a hike. I don’t know that their marketing plan accommodated the ratings plunge and the financial hit such as spots or the Papa John’s sponsor abandoning them.
I don’t know if they calculated all that into it, and I’m not sure that this is right.
I’m just throwing the question out there.