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With the NFL Draft set to provide a rare respite for U.S. families stuck indoors due to the coronavirus pandemic Thursday night, Lowe’s is one of dozens of companies planning to use the virtual event to showcase their efforts to help Americans move past the crisis.
The home improvement retailer will air a trio of commercials during this week’s draft broadcasts, the first of which will debut during first-round coverage Thursday night. The three ads use the tagline “Home Is What Unites Us” and feature Lowe’s employees, the company’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and the homes of its customers around the country.
Aside from the commercials, Lowe’s enlisted several current or soon-to-be NFL stars, including Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey and presumptive No. 1 draft pick Joe Burrow, to make video calls thanking company employees for their hard work. Lowe’s is also serving as the 2020 NFL Draft’s presenting partner for the ESPN and NFL Network simulcast.
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“It’s this very curious situation where it’s the first live sports event in weeks—the players will be in their own homes finding out what their new home team and new home city will be,” Lowe’s Chief Brand and Marketing Officer Marisa Thalberg said in a recent interview with Ad Age. “This campaign is a combination of just telling the story of who we’ve always been and who we are right now.”
The NFL Draft is the first major live sporting event to air in several weeks. U.S. sports were forced to shut down in mid-March in order to comply with shelter-in-place orders and restrictions on mass gatherings around the country.
Lowe’s is one of more than 100 companies that have purchased ad time during the NFL Draft, according to ESPN’s parent company, Disney. Of that total, more than 60 companies are advertising during the event for the first time.
The NFL Draft will use a fully virtual format for the first time in its history due to the pandemic. For the first round, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is set to announce draft picks from his basement.