Morrison and the Atlanta 4A’s Introduce Hooters’ All-Female Fantasy Football League(?)

By Erik Oster 

We really don’t know what to make of this one.

Hooters launched a campaign ahead of the upcoming football season to promote its fantasy football draft kit. It’s centered around a 30-second spot created by agency of record Morrison and the Atlanta division of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) training program for junior talent.

As you might recall, the 4A’s released the initial findings of a yearlong research initiative examining diversity in the advertising industry last week, which found that over half of women in the industry had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

The 4A’s members helped work on the spot as part of a “nine-week immersive experience” in which they were asked to “target their inner millennial and develop the best way to reach their own demographic,” with the brand ultimately deciding to execute an idea aimed at female football fans.

Really. The press release says: “Hooters decided to execute on the only idea that targeted women specifically.”

And then they pitched it to us.

Clearly the chain is trying to change its image without rethinking its name or its uniforms or anything else. The spot in question, “The New Guy,” sees a group of women around a table discussing two men. “Have you seen Tom lately?” one of them asks, adding that he doesn’t seem like himself. “It might be time for a change and Aaron is looking real good right now,” she says, at which point their waitress, Amanda Steinbecker from Fairview Heights, Ill., tells her that Aaron is, indeed, a great choice for quarterback, a sentiment echoed by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden. Again, this is a weird way of rebranding.

The idea of an all-female fantasy football league is vaguely empowering in a stereotype-battling sense. But the way the subject of the conversation is presented as a “gotcha” moment, with viewers initially led to believe the women are instead having a conversation about their dating options … it’s kind of off.

Another spot takes a more expected approach for the brand. The 30-second “Confessions” sees a group of people confessing to “doing it” at work, including “at my desk,” and “in the cockpit”—before it’s revealed that “it” refers to drafting their fantasy football team.

We have our own confession: We went to drink at Hooters on a few Friday afternoons like 15 years ago because our European college roommate told us it had the cheapest happy hour beer deal in midtown Manhattan.

Now let us never speak of it again.

Hey, have you seen the new Carl’s Jr.??