MBNA, NFL Kick Off ‘Extra Points’

NEW YORK Ex-football coach Jimmy Johnson has been making the rounds in New York this week to help promote the National Football League’s new “Extra Points” credit cards issued by MBNA.

The program allows football fans to “brand” either their Visa or MasterCard with their favorite NFL team. For every dollar charged to the card, the consumer accumulates NFL rewards points that make them eligible for gifts associated with that team. For instance, blocks of points can earn a fan a golf outing with a player or coach, memorabilia, tickets to NFL draft parties and sideline passes.

“It gives the fan and the consumer something they can’t really just purchase,” Johnson said at a luncheon yesterday at Schula’s steakhouse in Times Square. “They can get the rewards that really mean something to the them. I’m trying to find out how many points it takes to have lunch here with [Dallas Cowboys owner] Jerry Jones.”

Johnson, who coached the Miami Dolphins from 1996 to 1999, is an analyst on Fox NFL Sunday. He does not appear in the print and TV campaign that broke earlier this month on ESPN and in magazines. His presence at the luncheon and recent TV appearances on behalf of the program, however, is meant to be an example of the types of rewards offered to fans, said NFL representative Dan Masonson.

The campaign consists of a national commercial and spots tailored to each team that will run in regional markets, Masonson said. The campaign, created by the NFL Creative Group and DeCode in New York, will run throughout the regular season.

A spot targeting New York Jets fans is on air in the New York area. In it, a series of scenes plays out on a darkened, empty football field. In the first vignette, a man and boy thrust their shoulders against a padded blocking sled as the onscreen super reads: “Dreams of a VIP Jets training camp experience.” An older couple then welcomes a toddler down the players runway as the words “Dreams of introducing grandchild to the J-E-T-S chant” appear. Then a man dressed in a hooded parka draws plays on a board before a long dining table with another man seated at the head. The man in the parka “Dreams of talking football with New York Jets coaches.” In the last scene, a man in a short-sleeved shirt gets ready to pass the ball downfield. He “Dreams of Jets sideline access.” A male voiceover ends the spot saying, “Start living your dreams.”

Media spending on the campaign was undisclosed.