Inside the Real Heroes Project; Land O’Lakes’ Logo Change Mistake: Monday’s First Things First

Plus, strong brand voices stay the course during Covid-19

The Real Heroes project brings together athletes from across the sports world to celebrate essential workers.

Welcome to First Things First, Adweek’s daily resource for marketers. We’ll be publishing the content to First Things First on Adweek.com each morning (like this post), but if you prefer that it come straight to your inbox, you can sign up for the email here.

Adweek Exclusive: How the Sports World United to Honor the Pandemic’s ‘Real Heroes’

As the world shut down around them, some of the world’s top sports marketers congregated virtually in Slack and in on Zoom, trying to figure out how to proceed as none of their leagues could continue competition. Marketers like NFL CMO Tim Ellis, NBA CMO Kate Jhaveri, Nascar CMO Jill Gregory and so many more worked through problems during these “therapeutic counseling sessions among colleagues who respect each other,” as Activision Blizzard Esports CMO Daniel Cherry III called them.

Out of these talks came an idea. A campaign to unite sports heroes from Wayne Gretzky to John Cena to Carli Lloyd, donning their jerseys, but with one twist. Each sports legend would alter his or her jersey to honor a doctor, nurse or EMT on the front lines of the pandemic. This week’s Adweek magazine cover story goes behind the scenes of this ambitious project.

For more on how this campaign came together, here’s a snippet from Lisa Granatstein, Adweek’s editor, svp programming. Read her full letter here.

I was fortunate to be a part of that initial Zoom discussion and the ones that followed. It was remarkable to watch the inspiration and creative collaboration unfold. To witness the birth of such an unprecedented campaign by these marketing pros was powerful and Pretty. Damn. Cool.

The culmination of this effort is an expansive social campaign that kicks off today. Pro athletes taped the names of their healthcare heroes onto their own jerseys and thanked them for their hard work and personal sacrifice. Athletes, clubs and leagues will promote the individual videos on their own social channels. Then on Wednesday, May 6, timed to the start of National Nurses Week, the sports world will release a curated athlete PSA spot that will be promoted and shared far and wide by the leagues, teams, players, fans and Adweek.

We invite you to join the leagues in honoring these healthcare heroes by helping us socialize #TheRealHeroes. And we encourage you to grab some tape and a jersey and celebrate your own hero online, too.

Aside from the campaign, the sports leagues have made sizeable impacts on their communities. The NFL’s Draft-a-Thon raised $100 million. The NBA, teams and players have raised north of $77 million. Each MLB club has continued to pay workers, even as the season is on hold. See the contributions each sports brand has made here.

Infographic: Shopping for Flour? Sure, So Is the Rest of America

This week’s infographic in Adweek magazine takes a look at the items flying off the shelves in supermarkets. Not surprisingly, cleaning products topped the list, as disinfecting wipes, paper towels and other items are finally starting to reappear in grocery carts in much of the nation. The other grocery aisle shoppers wiped out? The baking aisle. With meals taking place at home, Americans have tried their hand at baking, leading to shortages in flour, yeast and more.

See it: The infographic shows off the 10 items that have seen the biggest increase in year-over-year sales. Hint: Nos. 2 to through 10 are all found in the baking aisle.

Land O’Lakes Isn’t Talking About Its Logo Change, and That’s a Big Mistake

Over two months ago, Land O’Lakes announced a new logo—one without the Native American woman named Mia, who first appeared on packaging in 1928. In mid-April, news outlets picked up on the change, putting the Minnesota brand under the microscope about why after 90 years it was finally ditching what Native American advocacy groups have called a disrespectful, antiquated symbol. Despite the attention, Land O’Lakes doesn’t have anything to say about it. And that’s a mistake. While the brand’s silence allows it sidestep some of the criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, experts think younger consumers want brands to explain their decisions, even if it’s just acknowledging a past wrong.

Read more: Senior writer Lisa Lacy spoke with experts about why Land O’Lakes is botching a key moment for the brand.

Brands With Strong Twitter Personalities Stay the Course During Covid-19

If you’re on Twitter, there’s no escaping Moon Pie, Steak-umm or even the state of New Jersey’s official handle (as a New Jersey native, nothing makes me prouder of this state than this loud-mouthed, hilarious account). They’ve brought humor to Twitter when we’re all in desperate need for a good laugh or two (I mean referring to six feet of social distancing as 1.28 Snookis is *chef’s kiss* good). The brands took into careful consideration what tweeting with a sense of humor could mean during a pandemic, but ultimately altering their brands’ voices felt out of place.

Read more: The masterminds behind this accounts explain the decision-making behind keeping the laughter going.

The Rest of Today’s Top News and Insights


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