Gail Sideman Publicity


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Tampa Bay Bucs have women seeing RED but not in the way it intended

To those outside of Florida and the Twitterverse that haven’t heard of the Bucs RED for Women marketing campaign that was announced this week, you missed a publicity mess. Man or woman, it might make you react like I did: ARE YOU *&@$% ME??

Yes, it had me seeing, well, red.

Mind you, I’m from National Football League Utopia, otherwise known as the state that’s home to the Green Bay Packers. To me, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will always be “that expansion team in the South.” However, as someone that lived in Tampa and attended the University of South Florida, I had to acknowledge the Bucs in my life. Then one of my nephews became one. You know. A fan of them. Jokes aside, there are some good things about the Bucs. They won a Super Bowl once. They had the great Lee Roy Selmon. And I must say, its media relations staff makes sure that reporters enjoy dynamite spreads on gamedays.

Despite its warts, especially those on public display during the last several months, I love the NFL. I’m in the demographic that makes up close to 50 percent of its fan base. The Bucs’ “RED Women’s Movement” however, is a sprint backward for intelligent sports marketing and publicity, and female football fans.

Women have leadership roles in sports

I’m not a “women’s movement” type of person. Nor, perhaps, are the women that led an NBA summer squad to a title last month, earned a spot among 2015 NFL officials or are coach to inside linebackers at Arizona Cardinals training camp.

So did RED creators not step out of 1 Buc Place since it was built? I know it sits on an old shopping mall property, but c’mon…

We watch football, play fantasy sports and everything!

Women have a greater knowledge of sports because so many of us play and watch sports (I bow to the creators of NFL Network’s RedZone every fall Sunday). We play fantasy football, baseball and put in our pennies for NASCAR squares. Some work in sports; many more now than when I joined the staff at the USF Oracle as a sportswriter and then the school’s Sports Information office. But even then, one of my best friends in college was a girl that wrote sports at The Oracle. When I began to freelance for sports television broadcasts while a student at USF, I made a lifelong friend. A GIRL!

So this girl knowing sports thing isn’t exactly new. And in 2015, if we have a question about new rules or who got traded where, we have this awesome tool called Google.

What is RED?

No, it’s not associated with the American Heart Association Go Red for Women campaign, although that is what I think of each time I write it. Here is a portion of the news release on its website:

“RED will re-invent the female fan experience by providing insight into topics such as: what goes on behind the scenes on gamedays at Raymond James Stadium; how to maximize their gameday experience; how to blend personal Buccaneer pride with the latest NFL fashions; as well as tips on sharing their experiences and ideas via social media platforms such as Pinterest.

“RED members will also have access to exclusive networking events throughout the year designed to encourage interaction while providing practical advice on how to express their love for the Bucs into original design projects, fashion-forward team apparel and creative culinary creations.”

Culinary creations? Don’t even tell me to go back to the kitchen because I’ve really only been in there to make coffee and popcorn (much to the disappointment of some of the guys I’ve dated, but some of them cook). NFL fashion? My grandmother used to say that I was a walking billboard for sports teams and events because I wore so many of the t-shirts and sweatshirts I received from events. My grandMOTHER, the diehard football fan!

I like fashion tips (really, Mom), and visit a local retailer when I need a new eye pencil. But please don’t mix my gameday experience as a fan with a mascara wand.

As someone that works in sports marketing and publicity, I respect that the NFL and the Bucs want to attract more people to the game and yes, even women. But if so, it doesn’t have to be nor should it be bedazzled with a side of perfume. Too many women have worked long and hard not to have that stereotype.

I will share some suggestions with you tomorrow about how the Bucs could have made their marketing campaign more inclusive and less condescending.

Until then, have a great evening and hey, for those of you – men and women — watching the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony tonight, enjoy!

(Copyright Gail Sideman, PUBLISIDE 2015)


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