Pop Warner

Youth football was beginning to take some big hits. So we helped Pop Warner jump out in front of the story and communicate the importance of player safety.

Challenge

From the NFL lawsuit to college and pro athletes being sidelined, concussions had become a mainstay in the news. Nowhere had the crisis caused more fear than at the youth level, where head-to-head contact threatened the health of young players and the sport itself. In 2011, Pop Warner saw registration numbers drop for the first time. The organization knew it needed to take action. In 2012, Pop Warner leveraged the expertise of its Medical Advisory Board and fact-based research to shape new rules - including limiting contact in practice - that would impact the entire organization.

Objectives

  • Educate coaches so they would support and properly implement the rule changes
  • Reassure current and future members that athlete safety is paramount at Pop Warner and that enrolling in youth football is a responsible choice
  • Advance the national conversation about the concussion issue, while establishing Pop Warner as a leader

Human Spirit Insight

For parents, nothing is more important than their kids. And as popular as football is in the U.S., much of the media coverage around the sport of late has made many think they had to choose between the game and their kids. It was essential, then, to reinforce that Pop Warner was focused on making football safer for kids while supporting all that’s great with the sport.

Unleashed

To maximize media coverage and heighten the impact of the announcement, we needed to start big. This would ensure that the message influenced national and local coverage, reached the target audience and wasn’t overshadowed by other news. We worked with NBC to launch the multi-tiered campaign with an exclusive on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams on the eve of the Medical Advisory Board meeting and on the TODAY show the next morning. Concurrently, we secured lengthy stories in USA Today and Associated Press to run immediately following the Nightly News segment.

NBC Nightly News Exclusive

Launched Pop Warner’s concussion awareness campaign with an NBC Nightly News exclusive story during the Pop Warner Medical Advisory Board annual meeting.

Feature Stories

Secured widespread coverage of Pop Warner’s game-changing approach to the concussion issue, with a focus on reaching parents and influencers through national media. 

Feature Stories

Connected with major outlets and journalists who had an interest in the concussion topic to ensure maximum reach and widespread awareness of Pop Warner's effort to address this serious issues.

Pw site

Website

Launched a dedicated SAFETY page on Pop Warner’s website to create a central location for concussion awareness and safety initiatives.

Results

With a strategy that generated unprecedented national and in-market media coverage for Pop Warner and also communicated directly with members, CTP helped the organization exceed its goals. The campaign reinforced Pop Warner's commitment to player safety, reassured parents and other constituents, educated members about the merits of and need to implement the new rules, and drew acclaim from media and organizations across the country.

11,000 media placements
including an A1 story in The New York Times
1,200 stories
from the Associated Press’ national wire distribution
Coverage in major outlets
like USA Today, Chicago Tribune, ESPN, NBCSports, Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Post
Stories shared socially including over 2,500 tweets, reaching 23.8M+
71% positive response
to new rules, according to an ESPN poll
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