Ron Rivera is using T-shirts to make the NFL fun again.
The head coach of the playoff-bound Carolina Panthers has garnered a heap of social media love for the humorous T-shirts he’s sported at press conferences of late.
One that got particular attention featured Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton’s head and a quote that read, “You been watching film huh? That’s cool. Watch this.”
Image from Carolina Panthers @Panthers
As The Charlotte Observer reports, the words were a reference to Newton responding to Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews’ belief that he had a Panthers’ play call figured out.
Everyone from Yahoo! Sports to the NFL Network to a slew of fans on social media have given Rivera two thumbs up for the tees, which have also included one that featured Newton wearing a fez hat. As the Observer noted, fans were tweeting their desire to buy the shirts, but as of the publishing of this article they remained for internal use by the Panthers.
For promotional product pros and their clients, Rivera’s tees are a great reminder of how, even in this age of ever-evolving digital marketing technology, an imprinted T-shirt can still be an immensely powerful vehicle for generating positive buzz and connecting with desired audiences, if the shirt is cleverly sloganed/branded.
For the NFL, in a season beset by controversies on and off the field, overly officious officials, rampant injuries to star players, incessant stoppages for commercials and replays that have degraded the viewing experience, ratings drops, humorless monotone coaches, and more --- well, perhaps it’s a lesson that lightening up a little could be good for the brand.