Activist Ad Strips Away Redskins’ Logo to Show ‘It’s Still Washington Football’

Native American group makes subtle use of real footage

When Washington's Robert Griffin III—RG3, to you—runs a 76-yard touchdown to the roaring applause of adoring fans, does it matter what's printed on his helmet?

That's the question posed by a new ad from the National Congress of American Indians and the Oneida Indian Nation. In the spot, featuring real footage from a 2012 game against the Minnesota Vikings, the Redskins' name and logo have been removed from the play.

"Take it away," says a title card that comes up over the cheering of Unnamed Team fans. "Take it away and it's still Washington football."

The online-only ad from Goodness Mfg. is partof the NCAI's long campaign to compel Dan Snyder, owner of the Redskins, to change the team's name, arguing that the term's long history as an ethnic slur is reason enough to adopt a moniker that doesn't insult an entire ethnic group.

Snyder has both combatively dug in his heels and offered his detractors odd olive branches, perhaps the strangest being the team's Washington Redskins Foundation for Original Americans. Snyder has vowed never to change the name. (Although he could always sell the team so someone else can do it.)

This Super Bowl is dogged by major PR problems for the NFL—between the controversy over Ray Rice's videotaped altercation with his fiancee and the league's subsequent coverup, Adrian Peterson's child-abuse allegations and smaller-scale controversies like #DeflateGate, football is in a certain amount of trouble. The NCAI and the Oneida nation see a chance to strike while the NFL is vulnerable, and the new ad is part of that opportunity.

Also, 2014 was a crummy year for the 'Skins, with the team finishing 4-12 and being stripped of its trademarks for the second time (it had the first decision overturned on appeal). The team is currently in the process of challenging that decision.

CREDITS

Agency: goodness Mfg.
Client: National Congress of American Indians + Oneida Indian Nation
Director: goodness Mfg.
Production Company: Trailer Park
Chief Creative Officer: Paul Keister
Executive Creative Director: Bob Cianfrone
Creative Directors: Rob Bajohr and Eric Christy Manchester
General Manager: Stephen McCall
Head of Account Management: Kristyn Dunlap
Account Executive: Dominique Robinson
Operations & Project Services Manager: Roberta Thomas
Executive Producer: Rupert Samuel/Tara Poynter
Editor: David Ortega
Music and Sound Production: Trailer Park
Sound Designer: Trailer Park
Postproduction: Trailer Park
Flame Artist: Ryan Yoshimoto