Weekly LOL: NFL ad claims there’s no social substitute for fantasy football

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In this regular column, we profile the ads, videos and memes making us truly laugh out loud in the B2Bnn office.

If you’re not involved with fantasy sports, chances are you don’t know how much fantasy sports fans love talking about it with each other. Without fantasy sports to talk about, the NFL believes, fans will have to endure painfully awkward small talk.

Cue the new “Friends Don’t Small Talk, Friends Talk Fantasy” campaign by the NFL. There are currently about 56.8 million fantasy sports players in the U.S. and Canada, and about 20 percent of those players are into Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), which essentially allows people to build new fantasy teams on a daily basis and even gamble with real money on the outcomes.

Draft Kings and FanDuel both deal in the DFS trade, and other sports leagues like the NHL and MLB have even invested money in DFS. The NFL, on the other hand, is largely anti-gambling and is trying to encourage its audiences to stick with the regular-season format.

The NFL believes DFS doesn’t encourage “camaraderie through rivalry” like its own format does, so it released a series of ads featuring several NFL stars and a handful of regular people, all united by their love of fantasy sports.

Arguably the best of the bunch is the 30-second spot featuring New York Giants players Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. In the spot, Cruz considers drafting one of his own teammates in hopes of “making the playoffs.” Without fantasy sports to talk about, all Beckham Jr. can manage to bring up for conversation is Cruz’s cat. See the ad below:

A close second features Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown at the airport, while a regular guy says “we crushed it last night.” If that weren’t awkward enough, the conversation gets even more stilted without football to talk about:

Though the ads probably won’t be quite as funny to those outside the fantasy sports realm, they may just convince those obsessed with DFS to reconsider their allegiance.

The NFL is doing pretty well with its in-house fantasy league. Adweek reports the league has seen double-digit percentage growth in enrolment every year since its inception, with 2014 a record for most signups. The NFL also has a number of sponsors on board for its fantasy offering including Geico, Lexus, DirecTV, Snickers and Ram Trucks.

Did you miss our first Weekly LOL column? Check out this review of the hilarious Avaya ad

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Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas is a staff editor at Digital Journal Inc. He is a graduate from Ryerson University's School of Journalism in Toronto. He also founded Grayowl Point, a Canadian music blog that's been online since 2009.