When the National Football League announced in July that opposing teams could no longer swap jerseys after a game due to Covid-19, the players were upset.

“This is a perfect example of NFL thinking in a nutshell,” tweeted Richard Sherman, a cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers. “The players can get involved in a full contact game and make it safe. However, it is considered unsafe to swap jerseys after the game. “

Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans quarterback, called the decision “silly as hell”.

The tradition of players swapping shirts, sometimes with signatures, has grown in popularity in recent years. While practice shows how much respect athletes have for one another, it also gets complicated because of the ongoing pandemic and socially distant politics.

Tide saw an opportunity and got to work.

In the weeks following the NFL’s ban on the exchange of jerseys, the laundry detergent brand, owned by Procter & Gamble and an official partner of the NFL since 2011, got the league to agree to a clean jersey exchange program for club equipment managers wash the jerseys ( probably with tide) and then send them to the intended recipients. To date, more than 300 NFL players have signed up for the initiative, according to Tide. The brand encourages participating players to post on social media via the exchange.

“The best idea always starts with amazing insight,” said Jenny Maxwell, senior brand director at P & G’s fabric care division, which oversees Tide. “And if you can combine that with a culturally relevant moment, then it is worth gold to us.”

To further the project, Tide worked with ESPN to create a five-minute segment that covers the history of shirt changing and explains why tradition is important to NFL players (e.g. admiration, friendship, memorabilia from human caves) . A tide bottle and a branded tide box with a jersey that has just been washed appear briefly. The clip first aired on ESPN’s Sunday NFL countdown program on October 11th.

Today, Tide also debuts with a commercial voice actor, Peyton Manning. In the 30-second commercial created by P & G’s multi-agency Woven Collaborative, the former quarterback struggles to operate a robot, provides an overview of the initiative and promotes Tide’s latest product innovation, Tide Hygienic Clean used to remove dirt and grime. You may not even be able to see clothing.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, people have been washing their clothes more often. Large companies that manufacture laundry products, from Unilever to Church & Dwight to The Clorox Company, have seen sales grow in recent months.

“People’s habits and practices have changed quite a bit,” said Maxwell, who found that shoppers are no longer wearing the same clothes without washing them as often as they used to.

P&G recently reported that its fabric care business, which includes Tide, Downy fabric softener and Bounce dryer sheets, grew high single digits for the quarter ended September 30th. Overall, the Cincinnati-based company’s net sales rose 9 year-over-year, exceeding Wall Street’s expectations, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

During an earnings meeting with reporters, P&G CFO Jon Moeller found that the company had increased its marketing spend by more than $ 100 million in the last three months from the same period last year.

“We see this as a time to move forward on our advertising levels and not step back,” said Moeller.

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