McDonald’s Brand Struggle

McDonald’s is one of the most recognizable names in the world. Starting out as a simple hamburger joint, the chain now boasts more than 36,000 restaurants and serves approximately 69 million customers daily around the world. It has been tempting customers with Happy Meals, Big Macs, Chicken McNuggets, and other favorites for over 60 years. Known for its fast service and low cost meals, McDonald’s often tops the list of most successful fast food restaurants. However, McDonald’s is now experiencing competition like it never has before.

For the first time in a decade, McDonald’s experienced a decline in sales in 2014. For 2015, the chain continued to struggle to increase sales. While the third quarter and fourth quarters of 2015 show a slight increase in sales, the chain faces continuing challenges of keeping up with its competition and the changing tastes of its customers.

For these reasons, McDonald’s has been experimenting with various menu changes. One of its most successful changes seems to be the all-day breakfast option. Also, to appease customers who worry about treating animals humanely, the company promises to switch to antibiotic-free chicken over the next two years and cage-free eggs over the next decade. In addition, the chain will focus on offering milk products that come from cows that have not been treated with artificial growth hormones.

In recent years, McDonald’s began to offer more café choices, in the hopes of attracting customers away from Starbucks. While McDonald’s café choices have become popular, the drinks take more time, costing the restaurant one of its most valued benefits: fast service. Further, focusing on its beverage offerings has not proved beneficial as many customers didn’t go to McDonald’s for their drinks in the first place. Therefore, the inevitable decline in sales is happening.

Along with some food and beverage changes, the chain has been changing its appearance. Its restaurants are being refurbished to look more attractive, contemporary, and inviting. By changing its appearance and offering Wi-Fi and higher-end products, the chain hopes to lure customers that normally do not go to the fast food restaurant.

Despite all of its changes, McDonald’s still struggles to keep up with new restaurants that offer more organic and fresher ingredients, such as Chipotle and Panera Bread. It is a challenge to keep the image and products that made the restaurant so popular in the first place, while trying to appeal to different generations. However, it is evident that McDonald’s is willing to try new things to find the happy medium.

Like all brands, no matter how popular, changes must take place in order to keep value. Brands must appeal to their audience and keep pace with consumer tastes. Otherwise, consumers become bored and dissatisfied, making the brand value decline. With McDonald’s willingness to make changes, it is likely the chain will regain a positive sales outcome. However, it could take some time. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see all of the new offerings and changes McDonald’s makes to get there.

Recall Affects Value for Blue Bell

One of the biggest nightmares for a company is a recall—especially when a product causes injury or death to consumers. However, a recall can happen to the best of brands. In fact, it already has for many popular brands. For instance, in 1982 Johnson & Johnson recalled 31 million units of its Extra Strength Tylenol after seven people died from tampered pills laced with cyanide. Firestone recalled more than six milliontires in 2000 due to tire failures, which were linked to 46 deaths. In 2009, the Peanut Corporation of America recalled more than 3,000 products because of salmonella, causing nine deaths and more than 700 infections. This year, Blue Bell recalled all of its products due to listeria cases that caused three deaths.

Recalls create a nightmare for companies, and inevitably cause a loss in value. They are expensive and can ruin the reputation of a company for many years after the recall. Since a company’s value relies upon a company’s reputation, product recalls can damage a company’s reputation enough to cause the business to fold. Companies that have strong brand recognition reap several benefits such as lower sales and marketing costs, greater revenues, and greater market share or faster market adoption. Consumers trust brands. However, when that trust is broken, the brand suffers and loses all the benefits associated with positive brand recognition. Because consumers often associate good products and brand recognition with trust, a recall can damage the trust consumers have for that company and its products.

While recalls can be catastrophic, companies have proven that they can overcome them. For instance, Tylenol experienced two major recalls, one in 1982 and one in 2010. Yet the brand is still being sold today. However, it takes deep pockets and hard work to regain consumer trust. In fact, Ernst & Young reports that recalls due to a threat to health and safety cost at least $30 million. Luckily for Johnson & Johnson, as a $74 billion company, it has the ability to combat expenses associated with negative publicity and recalls. Furthermore, it has other products to fall back on.

Such is not the case for Blue Bell. In March, Blue Bell recalled a number of its 3 oz. ice cream cups due to a positive test for listeria. However, this recall expanded in April when the company recalled all of its products, which is about 8 million gallons. While recalls occur, it’s rare that a company has to recall all of its products. This makes it even tougher for Blue Bell than most companies to recover. The company doesn’t have other products to fall back on that would help it bring in revenue as it tries to fix the issue. But its woes don’t stop there. In May, a government report indicated that Blue Bell’s Oklahoma plant was cited 16 times for positive listeria tests in 2013. The report lists a number of unsanitary conditions that contributed to the listeria outbreak, and implies that the company knew about the issue for quite some time, but took no action to rectify it. This report alone may be more damaging than the recalls.

Consumers may be leery about a company’s products for a while in the event of a recall. But overtime, if the company makes the right moves, consumers may instill trust again. However, Blue Bell may struggle because it went from bad to worse in a few months. The costs keep mounting with each negative public announcement regarding the recall.

For more than a century, Blue Bell maintained a strong reputation and boasted third highest sales among ice cream brands in the nation. Is its reputation enough to overcome one of the biggest recalls in history?

Social Media Posts Create Great Visibility, Increase Value

Social media has plenty of marketing power. But it is especially useful when ideas go viral. The biggest sensation to go viral this year so far was a simple post of a dress. A lady’s post on Tumbler went viral as she tried to end a debate on whether a dress was white and gold or blue and black. Known as The Great Dress Debate, this simple quest for an answer became a social media craze. Another example of a social media craze was a fundraiser that intrigued the entire nation last year—the Ice Bucket Challenge. The challenge involved pouring a bucket of ice water on someone’s head in order to raise awareness and money for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

While short-lived, both of these examples show how quickly a simple post can reach millions of people through social media channels. In fact, by early September 2014, more than two million videos of the Ice Bucket Challenge surfaced on Facebook, with 28 million people commenting, liking, or uploading the challenge. Instagram also had3.7 million uploads of the challenge. Within just two days, the dress post received 73 million views on Tumblr. And these are just a few of the numbers.

In both instances, viewers could participate, making the posts more appealing. Viewers debated amongst one another over the color of the dress and challenged friends to the Ice Bucket Challenge. Even celebrities and companies decided to play along. Celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Tom Cruise, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Bill Gates, and so many more participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge. Companies such as Pillsbury, Old Spice, Samsung, and KFC produced commercials referring to the Ice Bucket Challenge. And for the dress debate, Julianne Moore, James Franco, Taylor Swift, and numerous other celebrities commented on the dress color. Companies used the dress debate as an opportunity to get free visibility by referring to their own brand colors. Some brands involved in the debate included: Coca-Cola, Duracell, Coors Light, Hellmann’s, AT&T, Dominoes, American Airlines, Tide, Play-Doh, Oreo, Dunkin’ Donuts, and many more. The debate was such a national sensation that discussions made their way on talk shows such as The Ellen Degeneres Show and The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.

According to the 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report produced by Social Media Examiner, the number one reason marketers use social media is to increase exposure. This reason supersedes others such as improve sales, provide market insight, generate leads, and others. While these viral posts had nothing to do with celebrity status or company success, it gave both companies and celebrities the ability to become more visible. It also made them seem more accessible because they were participating in the same events as the rest of the population. By capitalizing on social media posts, companies and celebrities can make a real connection with consumers, and at no or little cost. The more visible celebrities or companies, the more valuable they become.

Identifying Target Audience Key in Advertising Value

The Super Bowl presents a dream advertising opportunity in terms of exposure. Each year the number of Super Bowl viewers continues to climb, with this year’s Super Bowl drawing the most with more than 114 million viewers. For many people, part of the Super Bowl attraction is the commercials—one of the few times that people enjoy commercials. This is why some companies save their best creative ideas specifically for the Super Bowl. Viewers especially like humorous and inventive commercials because the Super Bowl provides a fun environment. Football fans spend weeks planning for their parties to watch the biggest football game of the year. Therefore, when a sober commercial airs, it deflates a festive atmosphere.

This is what happened when Nationwide’s commercial centered around the death of a child aired. Dubbed as one of the worst and most depressing commercials in Super Bowl history, Nationwide’s child safety commercial did not evoke a positive response. In fact, the backlash on social media was fast, fierce, and bountiful. However, even though the Super Bowl crowd didn’t like the commercial, sometimes negative publicity can still build recognition. After all, Nationwide’s commercial sparked conversations around the nation, even if the conversations were based on frustration that the commercial ruined the party atmosphere. Because of the commercial, the Nationwide brand surfaced everywhere through conversations, social media, news broadcasts, and others.

Yet, in Nationwide’s case, the negative publicity may have hurt the company’s brand image. Two weeks after the commercial aired, the company’s brand advocacy dropped significantly by 38 percent. While negative publicity can sometimes garner attention, when the negativity evokes personal feelings, the outcome can be harsh. For instance, when a professional athlete receives negative attention for breaking the rules, the incidence may spark anger or disappointment from fans. However, an athlete’s behavior doesn’t personally affect fans. On the other hand, Nationwide’s commercial hit a personal button, especially for people with children. It brought up a circumstance that is a parent’s worst nightmare—one nobody wants to talk about, especially during a “party.” For this reason, Nationwide may have chosen the wrong moment to air its commercial.

Because of the high level of negative attention, Nationwide came out with a statement defending its decision. While the company claims it was trying to raise awareness instead of revenue, spending $6.75 million for a 45-second commercial is a big risk to take for introducing a sober issue and not sell a product. Even if the audience understands the importance of making homes safe for children, the overall tone and timing just rubbed millions of people the wrong way. Viewers often remember Super Bowl ads for their presentation, not so much for their persuasion. Therefore, although Nationwide’s commercial may have captured millions of viewers, getting them to act is harder to accomplish.

While Nationwide was trying to do a good thing, playing its commercial to the Super Bowl audience missed the mark. In fact, the company is debating on whether it will air the commercial again. Nationwide’s commercial may have had better reception at a lower cost if the timing and audience were on target. It is likely that Nationwide will not see big changes in its membership and sales based on this commercial. However, this incidence shows how important the audience is for advertising motives.

Christina Aguilera Masters Value Retention Through Versatility

It’s no secret that celebrities make more money compared to the average person. However, they often pay a big price in return for their fortunes. Their lives, flaws, and mishaps face constant public scrutiny. The life of a celebrity is intense as career pressure and demand can become overwhelming. Some celebrities succumb to the pressure via substance abuse, depression, and more. It becomes especially difficult when a celebrity’s reason for fame starts to falter. For instance, an Oscar winning actress may act in a series of movies that bomb, which begins to discredit her acting ability. Living a celebrity dream is one that is hard to make long lasting. People age. Tastes change. This is why celebrities sometime have to become versatile and find other ways to stay in the limelight to retain their value. Such is the case with many divas including Christina Aguilera.

Many of the divas today face big challenges in the music industry, thanks in part to digital access and streamlining music stations. Singers Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, and Christina Aguilera have all faced lackluster sales with each consecutive album in the last decade. Back in the day, consumers had to buy entire albums; whereas today, they can download one song at low or no cost. Thus, musicians have to make up for lackluster sales in other ways. One of the biggest ways is through concert tours and performances. However, it’s been nearly a decade for Aguilera since her last tour, which was the Back to Basics 2006-2007 tour. Since then, she has produced two other albums, for which sales dropped with each successive album.

Despite Aguilera’s lack of concert tours and poor album sales, she remains worth $130 million according to Celebrity Net Worth. Her secret is her versatility. She is a judge on The Voice, which has an average viewership between 12 and 15 million. She has her own perfume line and has endorsed a variety of products including Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Skechers, Mercedes-Benz, and more. In 2010, she debuted as lead actress in her first movie Burlesque. In 2009, she became a spokesperson for World Hunger Relief. In addition, she has supported a host of charities including AIDS Project Los Angeles, Defenders of Wildlife, Red Cross, and many more. For her philanthropic efforts, she was recognized with the NCLR Special Achievement Award. She has also earned a Hollywood Walk of Fame star, six Grammys, the People’s Voice Award, and so much more. But all of these are things that she has done in the past. She has so much more to offer.

Recently, Aguilera showcased a hidden talent by playing “Wheel of Musical Impressions” on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Aguilera performed musical impressions of Cher, Britney Spears, and Shakira. The performance went viral, with one YouTube version of the clip at more than 27 million views. But this isn’t the first time Aguilera has showcased her ability to impersonate. As a guest on Saturday Night Live, she also did an impression of Kim Cattrall’s Samantha character from Sex and the City. She recently accepted a role in a few episodes on the musical drama television series Nashville. She is also set to produce a television series about Las Vegas entertainers called Hearts and Clubs. In addition, she plans to record a new album. Exposure and surprises like these will keep people talking about Aguilera and her potential for a long time.

It appears that Aguilera isn’t going anywhere but forward. While her music career could use a boost, the fact that she doesn’t give up on her music and tries new things will help her remain marketable. So far, she has become a philanthropic leader, a well-known singer with one of the most powerful voices in music history, an actress, a producer, a host on a highly rated television show, a business owner, and an impersonator. Aguilera’s ability to stay in full view of the public and showcase her many talents helps her retain value.

College Football Playoff Trademark Downfall

Trademarks are a useful and valuable tool for business owners and organizations. They help companies and their products stand out by providing brand recognition. Without trademarks, consumers wouldn’t know the difference between a pair of Nike gym shoes and Adidas gym shoes. Colleges are no different. With trademarks, colleges can sell products, entice students to enroll, lure sports fans, and much more. Trademarks allow colleges to keep others from profiting on their name or likeness, which would take away funds needed to support them.

College sports draw large crowds who associate with the trademarks of their favorite college team. Within college sports, football draws some of the largest numbers of spectators. And this past year was particularly noteworthy with college football’s first national playoff. In fact, the games made history for ESPN as it boasted the two largest audiences of its time with more than 28 million viewers for both the Sugar Bowl and the Rose Bowl—the two bowls that would determine which teams would play in the national championship. It turns out that the bowl games were just a precursor to the largest audience in ESPN’s history with the national championship attracting 33 million viewers.

If the first year is any sign of future playoffs, then the College Football Playoff should experience successful outcomes apart from this year. Could it become as popular as Super Bowl? There may be potential. However, one thing the Super Bowl has going for it over the College Football Playoff is its name. Super Bowl is unique and specific to the NFL championship game. The name is simple and flows effortlessly when pronounced, making it easy to remember. On the other hand College Football Playoff doesn’t stand out and has a generic ring to it. In fact, the USPTO has rejected it for being too descriptive and generic.

Trademarks fall into five categories of distinctiveness: generic, descriptive, arbitrary, suggestive, and fanciful. These categories lend directly to trademark strength in a legal context. Generic and descriptive trademarks generally represent the weakest strength, with generic having no value (e.g., aspirin). Descriptive marks can be valuable when they take on a second meaning (McDonald’s), which means that there is some public meaning beyond the obvious meaning of the terms comprising the trademark. Suggestive marks suggest a quality or characteristic of the good or service that it represents (e.g., Florida’s Natural branded orange juice). Arbitrary and fanciful trademarks represent the strongest trademarks. Arbitrary marks tend to describe goods or services that otherwise have no relation (e.g., Amazon, Apple). Fanciful marks tend to describe goods or services that likely have no other precedent in the market (e.g., Lipitor).

Generally, fanciful marks represent the strongest trademarks. These work the best because there is no other precedent in the market. Often, the best trademarks are unique, catchy, memorable, and recognizable. Therefore, in order for the College Football Playoff organization to fully capitalize on its trademark, it should create a unique name that spectators worldwide can identify with. Something that is easy to remember, yet sticks out. While the organization indicates it wanted something simple and descriptive, the trademark does little for marketing efforts. How does College Football Playoff create revenue? It’s a long mark that many people would use in general terms. It’s not catchy. If it is too complicated or generic, it does no favors for the organization. Imagine if the Super Bowl were titled Pro Football Playoff. It wouldn’t carry significant meaning. As it stands, advertisers cannot use the term Super Bowl. They must use other forms of identifying the championship game because the NFL has full ownership of the use of the word Super Bowl. This is what a good trademark affords an owner. While the College Football Playoff organization argues that its mark is distinctive among the demographic being served, so far the USPTO has yet to agree. In the meantime, the organization cannot prevent others from using the term. Therefore, it loses revenue-generating opportunities. While the name probably won’t stop sports fans from watching or attending games, the organization would probably build more brand recognition if its name were more fanciful.

Ohio State Win Increases Value

In the sports world, fans like nothing more than a big win in their team’s favor. For the sports organizations, a big win means more value. For college teams, a big win means big news for the college as well as the team. Luckily for Ohio State, its football team made the biggest win of all time. On January 12, 2015, Ohio State literally made history. Not only is the team the first to win the College Football Playoff National Championship, but the circumstances behind the win makes the team more remarkable.

Labeled as the underdogs, predictions indicated that the Buckeyes would lose by six points. After all, they were working under their third-string quarterback, Cardale Jones. Having only played two games the entire season to this point, the odds were against him. However Jones proved strong under pressure, winning the game with his teammates at the tune of 42-20 over the Oregon Ducks.
Not only do the Buckeyes enjoy bragging rights as the first-ever College Football Playoff National Champions, but their win means big value in many ways. Since the hype and the actual win of the national championship, several of the country’s top-ranked recruits committed to the Buckeyes. The Empire State Building lit up with Ohio State colors after the win. The win landed Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer on the Late Show with David Letterman. Predictions indicate that Ohio State is already at 5-1 betting odds for winning the 2015 championship game. The team was honored during a Cleveland Cavaliers game on January 19. And the accolades, recognition, and excitement just keep coming.

What does all this mean? It means that the constant positive exposure makes Ohio State’s value climb. It’s no secret that successful sports programs and positive publicity provide great marketing opportunities to their overall organizations. Just days after the win, fans scrambled to purchase the newest products plastered with national championship recognition. As already mentioned, the hype helped to solidify the commitments of future team prospects. Fans will continue to pay big bucks for game tickets. Full of pride, alumni may increase donations. Even before the big win, the football team ranked as the most valuable college football team at $1.1 billion. Since no other college had ever reached the $1 billion mark, this valuation is another first in history attached to Ohio State. It will be interesting to see how this number changes with the recent win.

It is likely that Ohio State will continue to be the rage in college football throughout the year. With a young team, three starting quarterbacks, and top-ranked recruits on the horizon, Ohio State currently seems unstoppable. Fans and competitors alike will eagerly watch to see how the team fares. In the meantime, the team is rightfully basking in the limelight as undisputed national champions and the most valuable team in college football.

Bill Cosby’s Value Demise

More than fifty years ago, one of the most famous comedians of our time was just beginning his career. Bill Cosby’s career began in the early 60s with stand-up comedy and a starring role in I Spy, a drama television series. But his real claim to fame began in the 1980s with the widely popular television series The Cosby Show, which was based on material from his stand-up comedy acts. The show aired for eight seasons and received a host of achievements including Emmy awards, Golden Globe awards, NCAA Image awards, a Peabody award, and People’s Choice awards. Decades later, the sitcom continues to air and DVD releases for the seasons still sell today. Along with the stand-up comedy acts and the highly successful sitcom, Cosby has appeared in various films and other sitcoms. He has hosted a game show and a kids’ show. Today, he continues to perform stand-up comedy and has many projects in the works.

Cosby’s career and personal life portray him as a nice, fun, approachable, and loving man. He keeps his comedy material clean so that a family could be comfortable attending his show. In real life, he is a family man with several children and has been married about as long as the span of his career. In addition to his acting and comedy career, Cosby is an advocate for education, creating his own cartoon series with Fat Albert and The Cosby Kids and Little Bill, serving on various educational boards, and delivering speaking engagements. His fight for education and morals further make him “America’s Dad.”

As America’s Dad, the recent rape allegations from as many as 20 women come as a huge shock to the public. While Cosby has yet to be indicted, and may never be, the sheer confusion and shock of these allegations creates a negative perception in the eyes of the public. As a celebrity, what the public perceives is what counts the most when it comes to value. Whether guilty or not, the damage has been done. It is unlikely that Cosby will be able to fully recover from this. While the public often forgives celebrities who suffer from addiction, when it comes to sexual offenses, the public is less forgiving. Take for instance Michael Jackson and Penn State’s Joe Paterno where allegations followed them to their deaths. It is likely that Cosby will face the same demise.

Whether Cosby is guilty or not, the public is too confused and hurt to let it go. Both doubters and believers exist, but the image portrayed by Cosby for over fifty years versus the sexual abuse allegations (by many women) he now faces is just too much to comprehend. Further, many other factors in play right now are not helping the situation. For instance, it doesn’t help that Cosby publicly admitted to an affair in the past. Nor does it help that the media implies that the Cosby team is investigating each accuser in the hopes of digging up dirt to make them unreliable resources. In addition, Cosby’s silence makes him appear guilty to some people. Also, the fact that educational institutions dropped him immediately, scheduled shows have been cancelled, and other projects have been put on hold indicate that he is guilty or at the very least that his image has been tainted.

Currently, Cosby’s net worth is $400 million. However, it is likely that his net worth may fall or become stagnant at this point. More than likely it will fall because the demand for his presence will be far lower than he has ever experienced, and he will have to pay lawyers and public relations experts to fight all of the accusations in court or otherwise. While a celebrity’s value naturally starts to fall because of death, ill health, or other problems that face aging celebrities, Cosby’s is likely falling based on accusations and public perception. Unfortunately, at his age, he may not have time to overcome the negativity to stop his value from falling.

Joe Cocker Masters Generating Value From Covers

For most musicians, singing cover songs takes them to local bars, coffee shops, and other small venues. Rarely do musicians make it big unless they write their own music or at least sing originals from a paid writer. Joe Cocker was an exception. While he spent nearly a decade in local bars before he became famous, he defied the odds with his popular renditions of classic covers from some of the biggest musicians in the world. Cocker did write some of his own songs, but it was his cover renditions that helped him gain fame.

According to Celebrity Worth, Cocker was worth $60 million at the time of his death—no small amount for a cover singer. How did he do it? Cocker didn’t just sing cover songs; he made them his own. They had a completely different feel with often just a hint of the original sounds. But perhaps more importantly, Cocker became a phenomenon for the way he sang those songs. No other singer in the world compared to Cocker’s singing antics. He was one of a kind. His wildly spastic performances, along with his raspy, bluesy voice made him stand out. In the music world, he was a genius for taking other people’s songs and making them his own with voice and motion. By doing so, he created a brand for himself.

While all celebrities create their own brand in some way, Cocker’s brand was especially unique because he based much of his brand off other people’s work. Typically, a celebrity finds fame by bringing something original to the industry. Yet, Cocker seemingly tackled the impossible—and won. But not without a struggle. The fame, pressure, and constant touring took a toll on Cocker, leading him down a path of depression and alcoholism for a while. Luckily, he persevered and overcame addiction.

Through his perseverance, Cocker brought one of the most memorable voices to the music industry. His raspy voice made each performance seem like an incredible effort. But it was his hoarse voice that lent credence to his talent and endurance. Over the span of his career, Cocker’s antics and singing ability provided fodder for comedians, landed him in the musical Across the Universe, and made him world famous. He released more than 40 live, studio, and compilation albums and enjoyed nearly 70 singles. In 2011, the Queen of England awarded him an Order of the British Empire for his contributions to the music industry. He also won many other awards including Grammy awards and Golden Camera awards.

Based on his accolades, it is obvious that the world recognized Cocker both visually and lyrically, which is important to his brand. A person’s brand presents the most value when it is in demand. In order to be in demand, a brand must be recognizable. While his music fell into the mainstream as he aged, he continued to perform and release albums. Both imply that demand still existed. And with any brand, constant exposure provides more recognition and value. Cocker’s refusal to give up, his ability to reinvent songs, his signature moves, and one of the raspiest voices in music history all helped make him a master of cover songs. He goes down in history as one of the most recognized in the music industry.

NFL Negative Publicity Effect on Value

Football is inarguably the most anticipated sport in the United States. Boasting more revenue than any other national league in the United States, the NFL generates approximately $9.5 billion annually. However, this year, the league faces considerable negative publicity. Headlines announce lawsuits from cheerleaders suing for low wages, double standard punishment for NFL personnel, an immense increase in concussions, and the Redskins name debate. Also, headlines shout greed over the NFL’s proposal to charge Super Bowl halftime entertainers to perform. Add to the mix lackluster game attendance and a continuous rise in ticket prices, the NFL seems to be struggling. Or is it?

The NFL dodges issues every year. While this year seems to be abundant with various negative issues, the league masters its ability to rectify issues—quickly and smartly. For instance, the league announced new penalties regarding sex violations and domestic abuse in response to public outcry regarding Ray Rice’s light punishment. In addressing the concussion issue, the league funded a think-tank for handling concussions in sports around the world. These are just a few examples of how the NFL responds to negative publicity.

The NFL also faces public backlash over its suggestion to charge halftime entertainers at the Super Bowl. Typically, the NFL does not charge Super Bowl halftime entertainers. Nor does it pay them. However, despite the public backlash, the NFL may have a good business point. If advertisers are willing to pay millions for mere seconds on a commercial, why wouldn’t entertainers pay for exposure for a much longer period? On the other hand, approached entertainers such as Katy Perry, Coldplay, and Rihanna do not necessarily need the exposure. They are worth more than $100 million each and their concerts typically sell out. However, other singers/bands who seek more exposure may find it worth the cost, as the halftime show draws tens of millions of viewers.

Another area of so-called greed comes with the live game experience. Fans who want the live experience pay a hefty price, with the average cost of attending a game at nearly $460.00. While the NFL could stand a boost in attendance, attendance remains steady over the last few years. Therefore, although prices have increased, the effect on attendance has been minimal. In the hopes of spiking attendance, the NFL is making efforts to enhance fans’ stadium experience by offering Wi-Fi and cellular standards, fantasy-friendly amenities, gourmet food, more space, and other perks. However, realizing that the cost factor, advanced technology, and comfort keep many fans at home, the league continues to find ways to capitalize on its at-home viewers. Currently, the NFL has network contracts totaling $5 billion annually through 2022.

Negative publicity is never a good thing. However, with a large number of personnel in the public view, negative hype is bound to happen. Yet, the fact remains that the NFL continues to dominate the U.S. sports industry. The league’s ability to tackle negative publicity with solutions helps keep its value stable.