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A TTAG reader wrote the following letter to the National Football League. He was angry at news that the NFL had rejected a Superbowl ad written and produced by rifle maker Daniel Defense. According to the league’s reply (after the jump), it was Fox Broadcasting that told DD to FOAD. But if Murdoch’s minions hadn’t, the NFL would have. How great is that?

Dear Sir

I’m aware of the NFL’s recent rejection of an advertisement by Daniel Defense that was to be aired during the Super Bowl this coming February. I am an avid football fan, I watch every game, I buy apparel, I go to games…when I can afford it.  I’m pretty much your ideal client. However, if the NFL sees fit to take itself out of the football business and into the “culture” business, I will cease to support it in any way . . .

Decisions have consequences and while the emotional message of folks like Michael Bloomberg and others who seek political or personal gains from their advertising dollars certainly strike a chord, their intended ends are such that I cannot support an organization that unequally lends them a very visible bully pulpit while denying the same opportunity to their opposition.  This is a country of democracy and free speech where open and rational discussions can and should lead to logical decisions for the better of our community as a whole.  When people or organizations begin to skew the message or data/information to reach a certain end while saying they’re inviting “common sense discussion” they are exploiting their power and position for the good of the few, not the needs of the many.

I respectfully ask for a written response as to why the Daniel Defense ad was rejected to be aired during the Super Bowl as well as a written copy of guidelines that must be followed for an ad to be satisfactorily selected to air.  In the absence of this, I can only assume this was a politically motivated decision crafted for personal or financial gain by you and your organization at the expense of true freedom of speech and will cease to support the NFL in any form.

This will not be easy, but it will be worth it to send a message that I will not stand for censorship of reasonable information and just discussion in the face of a populist, and ultimately statistically & logically unsupported viewpoint.

Thank you for your time & consideration.  I look forward to your response.



From: PR Comments
Date:12/18/2013 9:48 AM (GMT-05:00)
Subject: RE: NFL Politics


Paul Hicks forwarded your recent note to our attention.

Thank you for taking the time to write and express your views about the commercials broadcast during NFL games.

The NFL does not sell advertising time during game broadcasts. As the Super Bowl XLVIII broadcaster, the FOX network is responsible for selling ad space to this year’s game.

This advertisement was never submitted to the NFL. We were not aware of it. In any event, our advertising rules, along with the network’s standards, would have prohibited this ad from being shown during an NFL game.

In addition to voicing your concerns with us, you may also contact FOX Sports at 1211 Avenue of the Americas, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10036.

We recognize your concerns and will do everything possible to ensure that the NFL continues to be the most respected sports league. We always appreciate hearing from fans. Your comments are very helpful and will be shared with others in the NFL.

Most importantly, we appreciate your support of the NFL.


NFL Public Relations

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  1. I think the whole thing is brilliant marketing by DD. I don’t think they ever intended to get the ad in the SB. They made enough of splash with this that my wife saw something about it a week or two ago with no mention of it from me, so I know that the story has gone at least somewhat viral.

    For the record I think the ad is weak. I also though the recent Glock Gunny ad was pretty lame from an advertising standpoint. I guess us gun folk are pretty easy to market to though so being creative is not something gun manufactures are really good at in the marketing dept.

    • I agree. I think a SuperBowl ad would be too expensive for DD to have justified it and, if they had actually wanted to pay for the ad time (about $8mm for a 1:00 ad), I think they would have spent more on the ad’s production value to really maximize the investment. Nobody spends $8,000,000 for a minute of time during the dang SuperBowl, which is also the SuperBowl for TV advertisements, and does something this darn simple and relatively low budget. Additionally, it could have been cut down much shorter than 1:03 and remained just as effective. I don’t see anyone who’s burning a million bucks every 7.5 seconds dragging out an ad longer than necessary.

      IMHO. Which is why my first thought after hearing this story and seeing the ad was “no F’ing way did they intend to actually pay to run this anyway.” And… that it was genius.

    • Yes, this is nothing new. Volkswagen, Ford and other companies have gotten a lot of traction with “rejected” ads that people see online. Free is the holy grail of advertising.

  2. First, there is not a chance in hell this whole thing is anything other than a clever PR and marketing move. We aren’t naive enough to believe that this was ever going to be run even if it wasn’t rejected are we?

    At least that’s how my cynical self feels.

    • I agree. All Fox and the NFL have to do to make this all go away is to call up DD and say, “We’ve had a change of heart. Please send us your $8 million check.” and call their bluff.

  3. So… they didn’t provide the requested advertising guidelines? Just a blanket statement that it would not have aired?

    • They don’t have guidelines for what gets aired because they don’t choose what gets aired. Which ads get airtime and which don’t is the sole responsibility of the network (in this case, FOX) and the NFL doesn’t have any say in the matter. FOX turned down the DD ad, the NFL had no part in it.

      • So how come the letter from the NFL PR flack mentions “our advertising rules”? You can be very sure the NFL has a long list of rules for what kinds of commercials are acceptable for networks to air during their games. They have a brand to protect, and they do so aggressively.

    • No, you’d have too get an affirmative action group to call them and threaten legal action for that to work. Which ain’t gonna happen because guns.

  4. If I were running the show at Fox, I would not have aired the ad either. Not due to the product/company being advertised, but simply due to the fact that Superbowl commercials should be the cream of the crop, and the DD ad falls well short of that mark.
    As for the guidelines mentioned… what are they? The letter seems to imply that one of those guidelines are “no gun/related to guns companies.” Given the general stance of the NFL and the post-Jackson Superbowl halftime shows, I suspect it is more along the lines of “avoid anything that in our opinion will be likely get complaints filed with the FCC.”

    • then there should be an organized FCC letter writing campaign if they show any anti-gun ad during the Superbowl . . . let’s bring the fight to them.

      of course, if they run an anti-gun ad with Shannon wearing a wicked weasel bikini, I might not complain as loudly. . . . . 🙂

    • I thought the ad wasn’t normal SuperBowl fodder, but I didn’t think it was necessarily lo quality just low in flash.

      I don’t know where you are getting the anti-gun vibes from, unless you read a different reply than I did.

  5. At least since Apple’s “1984” TV spot, the Superbowl has been a showcase for the ad business’s Best of the Best. As much as I approve of the product, the ad is child-mild. It can’t offend anyone, and probably wouldn’t sell many guns. Daniel Defense probably got more good PR from the ad’s rejection than they would have garnered had the ad run.

  6. The ad stinks. They could have voice-overed an existing tampon commercial and had one at least as good. Which definitely leads to the conclusion that it’s a PR stunt. Superbowl ads are supposed to be funny.

      • I think the Eastwood Chrysler ad was one of the best ever Superbowl commercials. I say this as a life long MOPAR guy who walked away from the company when they shafted their bond holders. It was a much tougher decision for me than boycotting “Government Motors”: I have always hated GM products.

  7. Whether it was Fox or the NFL isn’t too important to me. While neither of them will care one iota, in my house, we’ll be passing on the game this year.

  8. Fox was aware of the NFL’s polices, so they simply adhered the them. The NFL saying that it was FOX’s fault is like accusing John Q Public of supporting gun control because he obeys unconstitutional gun laws.

    He obeys them because he knows what would happen if he didn’t and so did FOX.

    This spells…bad.

  9. Personally, I am growing really tired of those who are obscenely wealthy giving us the shaft when it comes to personal rights and liberties. I honestly cannot think of one single person whose net worth exceeds $50 million dollars who has an open policy that not only supports an unfettered right to keep and bear arms, but who will also condemn anyone who opposes that right. For that matter I cannot think of a single corporation outside of the firearms industry, either.

    Why are the obscenely wealthy uniformly opposed to our right to keep and bear arms? Not only do armed citizens pose no threat to them, we could actually be the ones standing in the way of the masses that seek to steal all their wealth.

  10. This is slightly off-topic, but I saw an advertising reviewer say that this ad (made for the Super Bowl or not) would have been much more effective if the main character had been a woman instead of a man. I agree, it would have had much more impact.

  11. Whatever actually transpired, I’m willing to bet the cost of a one minute spot during the SB that Daniel Defense is thrilled with the outcome.

  12. Fox News: I don’t want to answer this question so I’m going to be really vague and just not answer it.

    And these are the only details we are going to give you – and it basically just restates what you already know:

    “In any event, our advertising rules, along with the network’s standards, would have prohibited this ad from being shown during an NFL game.”

  13. Well, don’t let them wiggle off the hook: what, exactly, in their advertising rules would prohibit it from being aired?

    Then someone can make another ad and submit that. And when they reject that one, find out why, and someone can submit still another one. Eventually either they’ll accept an ad — or else they’ll reject one for a reason that should have applied to an ad they actually do accept, and risk infuriating a big chunk of their customer base.

    “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

  14. I’m not seeing any mention of what either Fox’s or NFL’s actual advertising standards are and how the commercial failed to measure up.

    Judging by the players, programming and previous commercials they both approve of, I can’t imagine the bar is set too high.

  15. Had the gal been in a negligée I bet it would have been acceptable! I expected some highly inflammatory gun slinging ad. Instead, they don’t even say what they are advertising, except the right to protect your home. Everything else is in the watchers imagination. The substance of the ad invites a freedom of speech argument more than anything.

  16. I boycott organizations, people, and movements that are opposed to my values. NFL ticket prices are obscene. The money saved by boycotting NFL games can be given to better and more noble causes such as buying ammo and new guns. If the NFL is opposed to liberty then I am opposed to the NFL.

  17. I boycott organizations, people, and movements that are opposed to my values. NFL ticket prices are obscene. The money saved by boycotting NFL games can be given to better and more noble causes such as buying ammo and new guns. If the NFL is opposed to liberty then I am opposed to the NFL.

  18. I boycott organizations, people, and movements that are opposed to my values. NFL ticket prices are obscene. The money saved by boycotting NFL games can be given to better and more noble causes such as buying ammo and new guns. If the NFL is opposed to liberty then I am opposed to the NFL.

  19. They turn this one down but accept the yogurt one where the guy is looking to get a b*owjob and the Hershey one where it hints at a 3 some or a cheating wife.

    The NFL and Fox need to come back to family values. Not the crap they are helping push.


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