On the football field, no one connects with receivers better than the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers. Just ask the Minnesota Vikings. But outside of Lambeau Field, Rogers has launched a campaign to connect with everyday people.
It’s simply called, “It’s Aaron.”
The heart of the campaign uses TV commercials and an accompanying website to funnel viewers into a series of online videos profiling three non-profit organizations and the young lives they impact. The schema of each video has Rodgers making a surprise appearance with some of these children and giving his gift of time. By doing so, Rodgers brings attention to a deserving child and a worthy cause while at the same time exposing another side of himself to a new audience outside of football. By choosing video as a medium, it creates an accessible and lasting connection to viewers based upon its level of realism and emotion.
The videos are not only strategic, the campaign itself is smart and has substantial groundings in communication research. Carl Hovland in his well documented Yale studies in the early 1950’s established how source effects have powerful persuasive influences. Rogers’s celebrity status makes him a credible source to extend awareness and legitimacy to the non-profits he’s giving exposure to.
But the persuasive strength of the videos utilizes more than just source effects. It also forces the viewer form new attitudes by reconciling their own beliefs and expectations about the kids and the non-profits Rodgers is associating himself with. It’s an extremely subtle but effective process that psychologist Martin Fishbein called Expectancy-Value Model. Using Rodgers’ IndependenceFirst video as an example, the story line creates a EVM attitude conversion. [Figure 1]
The “It’s Aaron” campaign is a joint venture between Rodgers and Wisconsin personal injury attorney David Gruber. By associating himself with Rodgers, Gruber too benefits from the source effects of Rogers’ celebrity status. By combining their efforts, the two professionals benefit from a balance theory approach in associating themselves with positive messages about positive organizations. [Figure 2] In the process, Rodgers and Gruber have created the strategic means of extending both of their personal brands to enable audiences to get to know them on a different level.
While based in theory, the videos themselves do tend to lack in execution. It’s questionable whether the videos’ scattered focus and creative production can sustain a viewer’s attention for more than five minutes, especially as more consumers are accessing such content on mobile platforms where attention spans are shorter.
But it’s clearly a campaign that didn’t happen by accident. It’s more than just a simple series of videos. The title may be “It’s Aaron,” but it could also be called “It’s Smart.”