NFL Promo Features Fans’ YouTube Videos, Good or Bad? or Both?

Recently the NFL chose to create new ads for the 2010-2011 Playoffs that didn’t feature players, teams, or coaches, but featured the fans… specifically the fans’ own YouTube videos.


This is interesting because it involves two major points about marketing in this social media driven surge.

First, we see an acceptance by the NFL that the fans are just as important as the teams and players. By placing the fans in their promos instead of famous players, the NFL is saying that we, the fans, are just as much the stars of the game as any player on the field. This reflects the core of what the social media movement is doing in today’s marketing world, it’s all about the fans of your product and making them happy. To see the NFL making a step like this really shows how major companies/institutions are finally adopting this mentality.

However, there is a concern about the NFL’s fan video driven promos. The fans’ videos were taken off of YouTube, produced into the promos, and the fans were not compensated for the use of their videos. The begs the question, do you own the rights to your amateur videos on YouTube?

What’s your verdict?

2 replies
  1. Aileen McManamon says:

    Hey Corey —

    Interesting query — I hadn’t seen these yet. I think this is a bit of a “it depends” answer……if they’ve taken the footage, done a mash-up and put it back into the social media space, then I would see it as legitimate (rights-free), as that’s the nature of the beast and there is a ton of precedent for it…
    If they’ve produced it for TV spots then I’d say they’d have done it well had they contacted the YouTube posters and 1) offered right of refusal and 2) offered a special thank you (jersey, tix package) substantial enough to be considered compensation — and backed it up with a nice clear agreement to protect their backside.
    If it’s on their website, well, I’d lean toward the latter as well. I notice they were careful in a lot of cases to avoid clear visuals of people’s faces…..

    I like the effect — as it wasn’t run as a ‘show your spirit’ type of contest, they certainly got a more authentic look to it. And hopefully most of the posters are more than thrilled. I don’t believe they have much recourse if they aren’t though (not entirely up on my social media content for commercial purposes law….)

    • Corey Frey says:

      Yes, I would have to agree. The ads did air on TV and from what we know, the users were not contacted prior to their airing. It definitely brings up questions about the rights we users have of our content we share on any social networks. Wasn’t that long ago that Facebook owned the rights to all photos posted to their network in which users followed up with angry disapproval which led Facebook to re-write it’s user rights.

      We did hear that several of the “owners” of the videos used in the playoff ads knew their videos had been used and were excited about it… but all it takes is one who asks “where’s my money” and the storm would begin.


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