‘Observer’ Cheers for Charlotte and Panthers

ATLANTA As the Carolina Panthers prepare for Sunday’s Super Bowl, the Charlotte Observer is running full-page celebratory ads.

A series of print ads from Price McNabb link the National Football League team’s fortunes to its hometown. Agency executive creative director Alon Shoval is hoping the work reflects the positive changes that have happened in the Queen City.

“It’s becoming a different kind of city, full of entrepreneurs from all over the world,” said Shoval. “The values of the Panthers are the values of the city: hardworking, humble, but ambitious.” The Observer, he said, is trying to get through to some of the city’s newer and more worldly citizens.

The Charlotte agency used photos taken by Observer photographers and wrote copy to connect the Panthers with the city. Of the five ads running this week, one in particular, Shoval said, best represents the city’s feelings. It is an outline of the U.S. superimposed over a jubilant Steve Smith, a Panthers wide receiver. The tagline, penned by Neveen Hegab, asks, “Do they know where Charlotte is now?”

The ad is also posted along Charlotte’s main streets and is appearing as a transit poster.

“The underdog, that’s how people think about Charlotte,” said Shoval.

If the Panthers win Sunday, new ads will begin appearing on Monday, the agency said.