The Eagles’ Marketing and Social Media Effort Last Week Was One of the Best Ever Seen from a Sports Team

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The Eagles are FIRE right now. They can do no wrong. Specifically, I’m talking about their all-around, front-to-back, 360 marketing, PR and social media effort for THE BLACKOUT, which turned out to be one of the greatest sports marketing initiatives I’ve ever seen.

From the field, to social media, to the in-game experience, the Eagles are firing on all cylinders right now, presenting a complete package that I don’t think the Phillies are capable of even dreaming about.

Two years ago, the Eagles fired their VPs of Communications, Rob Zeiger, and Marketing, Sean Tim McDermott (who, fun fact, is now the head of the Sixers’ marketing department). This spring, as reported here, they fired their VP of game day operations, Leonard Bonacci. Zeiger was replaced by former Inquirer managing editor Anne Gordon, who now oversees “media and communications.” Brian Papson is now the head of marketingAnd it looks like Chris Sharkoski oversees event operations (though it’s unclear if he took over Bonacci’s specific role). What noticeable effect these moves have had is unclear – I assume a lot of credit also goes to the Eagles’ massive “digital and media communications” team, who last year managed to spin the “quarterback controversy” into a fun positive – but the end result is an all-around effort that is substantially different and better than it was two years ago, and the best example of it is THE BLACKOUT.

Last week, the Eagles did exactly what a sports team should do from a marketing, PR and social media standpoint: They created buzz around their product, centered on a consistent theme (BLACKOUT, or, as they were calling it, #BlackSunday), hammered it home with repetition (mostly online), without taking themselves too seriously (but with merchandise sales), and then the team did its part by going out and kicking the Giants’ ass. Make no mistake, winning plays a huge part in all of this. It’s maybe even the main part, because had they lost, the Eagles would’ve had egg all over their faces like the Giants do right now. But the Eagles were able to turn a Week 6 game into a must-see spectacle simply by wearing black uniforms and getting Bradley Cooper involved. And I don’t know what would be more impressive– if the whole thing was done to distract from the fact that Nike didn’t meet their supposed Week 6 Midnight Green jersey deadline, or, since it looks like the jerseys are ready, if the Eagles planned this on their own without an assist from Nike’s ineptitude.

It all started with the oops “leak” by Connor Barwin last Monday, when he told WIP that the Eagles would be wearing all black. The team confirmed it later in the day. Throughout the rest of the week: They released yet another one of their outstanding pump-up videos produced by outside agency 160over90. Bradley Cooper did his part. They continued to reinforce all black, everything. And then fired out the more light-hearted – but perfectly in-tune with THE BLACKOUT – video of Eli Manning getting terrorized by Eagles defenderswhich is exactly what wound up happening on Sunday. During the game, they just let loose with a barrage of social media perfection. Just a small sampling:

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Again, winning helps. But the planning, marketing and execution (both off the field and on) was akin to an Apple product launch. It seemed like every facet of the organization was in lockstep. The message was created and then backed up by the actual product. Hell, there were even the unplanned for, mostly unavoidable hiccups that come with such a rollout. The NY Daily News’ overreaction to the Eli Manning video and their back page on Monday were the Eagles’ versions of bend-gate and iOS 8.0.1 bricking people’s phones. Those things got a lot of negative attention, but were mostly nonsense. The marketing spoke for the product and the product spoke for itself. Great job, all-around.


26 Responses

  1. Uh, Tim McDermott was the PR guy fired by the Eagles. Sean McDermott, his brother, was also fired by the Eagles as DC.

  2. Good write up, Kyle. From implementation to execution, it really was an A+ all around.

    Of course like you said, if the Eagles got shelled or operated on one of four cylinders, the hype for all of this may have looked a little cheesy. Thankfully, we don’t have to go down that road.

    Lastly, all season, the Eagles PR Dept has been ON POINT with their “#FlyEaglesFly” one minute videos. Really pumps me up for the weekend matchup.

  3. Interesting thing to write about. You won’t see any other outlet writing about this kind of stuff. I just wish it was written better.

  4. Gulps semen in praise that a billion dollar entity can produce a slick marketing campaign.

    Calls it the wrong name throughout the article.

    Somebody here trying to get credentialed as a “real” reporter? What, the free energy co tickets gonna dry up for ya? Real fans have no prob paying for their tickets bro.

      1. What’s so hard to understand?

        “Black Sunday isn’t bad, but I prefer BLACKOUT GAME”.
        Didn’t you write that like a week ago? Or are Eagles pushing two different campaign titles, one for twitter and another for the rest of the world at the same time, “Black Sunday” and “The Blackout”, which would be retarded? wtf?

    1. So, to clarify, giving out free tickets to the game is a bad thing because “real fans have no problem paying for their tickets?” I agree that people who really want to see the games have no problem paying for them, I certainly don’t. But, are you trying to say that a real fan wouldn’t accept a free ticket? Because that’s what it sounds like. I promise you that there isn’t an Eagles fan (or fan of anything for that matter) in existence that wouldn’t accept a free ticket to a game because “real fans don’t do that.”

      1. No to clarify, you run a purported “sports blog” in Philly, yet have no season tics to any sport – never even a partial plan to the two most successful teams (Eagles/Flyers) – and instead only go to games when tix are handed to you for free. If such blogger lives within 45min of the stadiums, that’s pretty fucking lame.

  5. Noticed this last year once the heads started to roll leading up to AR’s firing. The Eagles FO knew they needed to rebrand their whole image. From a football standpoint with the hiring of Chip Kelly and his fast paced offense along with his fresh and innovative sports science to the way marketing/media was conducted with short video clips and having a generally likable roster being plastered all over the radio, tv, and internet.

    It has been fun.

  6. You know what would have really solidified this? If they simply gave out black t-shirts or black towels so the stadium was really a blackout. Slap an NRG logo on there and call it a day. I noticed the majority of people weren’t wearing dark colors at all.

    Also another thing that happened during the game was the lights went out for the halftime BoyzIIMen performance. Added to the whole blackout theme.

    1. Agree with this, I was half expecting to be handed a cheap T-shirt or a black towel when I got into the stadium. The stadium wasn’t a “blackout” unless they were just referring to the team’s jerseys.

      1. Well allow me to explain. This was all the brain child of Tina. This all began as “Chartreuse Sunday” So we place an order for 60,000 Chartreuse towels with the insignia of the Eagles and the “Chartreuse Sunday” statement. Well then Chip and the guys got wind of it and staged a protest. Chip was going to quit, Cooper wanted to extend breast cancer awareness and go pink, It was a mess. So, I took Tina out to dinner and had to explain that we would now be wiping our asses on actual Chartreuse towels for the next few years. I thought it had a nice ring to it myself. Now excuse me while I go have my Almas caviar on a bagel for breakfast.

  7. Everything was going along swimmingly, until they fucked up the “Brotherly Love” banner reveal in the north end zone lower bowl seats.

    1. Well, I guess a minor typographical error does entirely negate everything else Kyle wrote…..

  8. Am I the only one who found this whole”Black Jersey” “Blackout” or Black Sunday” theme racist? I mean, did they have to use the word black everywhere? I am going to file a complaint with the NAACP. I mean in the same year we lose Tavon Martin, followed by the innocent kid in Fergueson, MO now have this team throwing out the word “black this” and “black that”. Not to mention the guy(s) cheering about Victor Cruz injury were both white (Mike Miss and the bald guy on the cover of the NY Paper). When Chris Baker hit Nick Foles, all the white people wanted him suspended.

    Keep it real, Panther strong.

    1. Phil, are you really serious? I hope your post is a joke.That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. You’re going to file a complaint with the NAACP? Grow up. I suppose we should ban the word black from our vocabulary. I think that will solve the real problem here.

  9. Kyle, I agree with you. From this whole blackout thing I have purchased 5 new jerseys all BLACK. Shady, Kelce, Barwin, Parkey, and Donnie Jones. GO BIRDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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