Butterfinger is offering NFL players up to $50k to cover the fines they may incur for excessively celebrating during the big game this evening. The stunt is part of Butterfinger’s Super Bowl advertising campaign.
The NFL told Business Insider that this is an “ambush marketing attempt.”
Butterfinger’s brand manager Kristin Mandel told Business Insider that she was not worried about the NFL’s response and that the brand had not consulted NFL on the promotion. She said: “Well, [consulting the NFL] would not be very bold, would it?”
“A pretty hefty fine can be applied to players who are deemed to be ‘excessively celebrating’,” she explained. “We don’t think it’s foul play, we think it is celebration. We want to bring these celebrations back to the game.”
Butterfinger worked with former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens who is renowned for the flamboyant celebrations which landed him fines and lost his team yards during his own playing career.
Owens once brought a permanent marker pen out of his sock to sign the football he scored with during an NFL game. In another controversial celebration, Owens mocked the New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick for his involvement in Spygate by pretending to be secretly spying and filming the game. Owens was fined $7,500 and his team, the Dallas Cowboys, were penalised 15 yards.
Excessive celebrations fall under the “Unsportsmanlike conduct” section of the NFL rulebook. It rules out:
- Individual players involved in prolonged or excessive celebrations. Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations while on the ground. A celebration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if a player continues to celebrate after a warning from an official.
- Two-or-more players engage in prolonged, excessive, premeditated, or choreographed celebrations.
- Possession or use of foreign or extraneous object(s) that are not part of the uniform during the game on the field or the sideline, or using the ball as a prop.
Butterfinger announced its return to the Super Bowl on video streaming app Periscope in December. The video showed a sky diver falling 12,000 feet while eating a Butterfinger bar. Though it looked like the skydiver missed his intended landing target, Mandel was positive about the stunt.
“It definitely was not a missed landing, but I guess that’s how some perceived it. On Periscope there weren’t a huge amount of viewers at the time, but we’ve had a ton of pick-ups afterwards.”
Butterfinger did not reveal what will happen in the main ad tonight. But Mandel said: “We hope that it will be one of the most talked-about ads of the year. Butterfinger’s personality is to push the boundaries, so that’s what we will do.”
She added: “We can’t speak to the cost or the spend, but, what I can say is that the Super Bowl offers a platform to 110 million viewers who want to hear advertiser messages. There’s really nothing else like it.”
“The success of the campaign will be measured in the aisle. It’s about how many products we sell.”
Butterfinger last advertised at the Super Bowl in 2014, where it produced a controversial video where “Mr. and Mrs. Buttercup” consider a threesome, while at marriage counseling.
After Business Insider’s interview Butterfinger, the company’s PR firm emailed “to highlight that Nestle/Butterfinger is NOT a sponsor of the governing body of American Football.”
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