The National Football League recently announced a new policy that requires photographers working the sidelines of NFL games to wear red vests. You may be wondering, "What's the big deal about making photographers wear a vest?" The vest itself is not the problem, it is the logos of NFL sponsors Reebok and Canon that appear on them. The American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Associated Press have voiced their displeasure with the new policy. They do not want photographers to become walking billboards for NFL sponsors. The NFL's weak response to criticism so far has been to point out that photographers have no problem exposing brand names and logos of their equipment or shoes that they wear, so why should they have a problem with a vest containing two small logos on it? Also, the NFL claims the logos are smaller than photographers covering other sports are required to display.
This tactic is marketing overkill that borders on the absurd. It is one thing for the NFL to regulate the brands that can or must be displayed by its teams, players, and coaches. It is quite another matter to require people not directly associated with the NFL to adhere to the league's sponsorship policies. How far will this go? Will fans be barred from wearing Nike products to games for fear a camera shot could broadcast a non-sponsor's logo across the airwaves? The NFL has enough problems with player conduct off the field that policing what photographers wear would seem to be a low priority. It does nothing to add value for fans, just sponsors. However, the NFL could suffer negative consequences if it allows its product to become too sponsor driven and fails to take care of more important issues such as the impact of player conduct on the NFL brand. Link