Twitter is frequently lit up with shoe drops, but Sunday was a bit more important.
The conversation didn’t stem from Cam Newton wearing tails on his pregame cleats this week, instead the NFL’s #MyCauseMyCleats initiative took center stage. Players wore a variety of different cleats in support of a variety of causes. Much like the obscure pregame cleats we see every week, these flashy boots generated a ton of reaction on social media.
Denver’s ever-creative linebacker Von Miller got involved with his shoes in support of kids who need glasses and his initiative Von’s Vision.
— B/R Kicks (@br_kicks) December 4, 2016
Miller, often sporting his own pair of quirky glasses, used his influence to spread an authentic message.
To go along with their cleats on the field, 172 players wrote up a quick profile on The Players’ Tribune describing the causes behind their cleats. The quick Q&A-style profiles included the players’ reasons for supporting their cause among other personal anecdotes.
“Von’s Vision was a way to give back that was distinctly me,” Miller wrote. “It has my fingerprint on it, I can relate to all the kids who need glasses or have glasses and don’t want to wear them.”
The top-to-bottom consistency of the #MyCauseMyCleats initiative was impressive. The NFL did a steady amount of promotion on Twitter by retweeting players’ and team accounts throughout the day. We got a behind the scenes look with this spot featuring New York Jets receiver Brandon Marshall.
The NFL also posted an entire gallery highlighting cleats from around the league, and dedicated an entire section of NFL.com to the initiative.
The league put the usually tight cleat restrictions on hold Sunday for a good cause, and generated a lot of positive conversation by utilizing the huge influence of NFL players.
Players and teams also made a concerted effort to spread the word via social. Team accounts shared content in support of their players’ causes. The Kansas City Chiefs included links to foundation websites to go along with their posts, and put together this short pregame clip.
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 4, 2016
Antonio Brown is always making noise on the pregame cleat scene, and this week he got to keep that creativity on during the game. Brown teamed up with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and caught a touchdown pass in his purple cleats bearing the hashtag #BeAMentor.
— BBBS (@BBBSA) December 2, 2016
The beneficiaries of this promotion were the foundations and people they help, but Sunday was a lesson in how creative action coupled with the huge reach of social media always produces a win.