Lessons for Sailing from the Super Bowl
Published on February 13th, 2023
Lou Sandoval, an author and executive leader based out of Chicago, is Past Commodore of the Chicago Yacht Club and serves on various for- and non-profit boards. Here he shares his observations from another sport:
Like many of you, my family was one of the almost 115M viewers who tuned in for Super Bowl LVII Sunday night. Immediately after watching the historic halftime show with Rihanna expressing the power of a woman who can sing, become a billionaire, and also do so with a baby in womb, we were floored to see one of the best and most culturally inclusive advertising spots of the night.
The Run With It commercial for the National Football League (NFL) with Mexican Flag Football Quarterback Diana Flores truly hit it out of the park on many levels and has been the buzz since it aired during the game.
With the Latino population at 18% of the overall US population, and a clear majority in major US markets (IL, NY/NJ, FL, TX, CA), the NFL went boldly there with a culturally and gender inclusive commercial that looks to set the NFL up for future growth.
As the commercial aired, my oldest daughter – a trailblazer in her own right (a Latina, High school 420 Sailor) – remarked, “Dad, that is what US Sailing needs to do… reach the growth arm of the population.”
An insightful comment for a high school sophomore who sees the limitations placed on her by a society and a sport that is still male dominated and wants to relinquish young women to positions where brawn is not needed on a boat. (Fact check- this is a fallacy). She is one of the few female skippers on her high school team and seeks to inspire others like her to join in and find the freedom of the water.
Many might see this as novel or revolutionary, but I beg to differ as other groups have tapped into the $2.7 trillion in buying power of the Hispanic community which is forecast to grow in influence over the next five years.
During my time on the board of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, we piloted the Vamos A Pescar campaign (Let’s Go Fishing). Happy to report that as of 2021, Hispanic fishing participation reached a record 4.4 million anglers. A true testament to the fact that inviting groups and being inclusive yields strong outcomes.
Since the Vamos campaign was launched, parallel campaigns with women and African Americans have also yielded double digit growth trajectories. So, the playbook works. The NFL is just the latest to add their twist to it.
A huge hat tip to the NFL for their leadership in this wonderful ad. They see that the future is bright, and it includes the Latino community! Well done. Waiting for the breeze to fill in for the sailing community… the playbook has been written.
To learn more about the AdWeek comments on the Run With It commercial, click here.