The Change the Mascot campaign released a new online ad targeting the Redskins’ team name Friday, timed with the upcoming Super Bowl.
The 30-second spot — titled “Take it Away” — features 2012 footage of Robert Griffin III’s famous 76-yard touchdown run against the Vikings, with Dick Stockton’s call. But in this imagined reality, the Redskins logo has been erased from the field, from players’ helmets and from the stands; “Take it away and it’s still Washington Football,” reads the final message. (Watch the ad here.)
“We looked for a play where people showed the most emotion, a play that really highlighted the best aspects of Washington football,” spokesman Joel Barkin said. “The first time you watch it you might not even notice [the missing logo]. That’s sort of the point.”
The ad is a joint effort of the National Congress of American Indians and the Oneida Indian Nation, which has led — and financed — much of the name-change effort in recent years. The same groups collaborated on an ad called “Proud to Be” before last year’s Super Bowl; that two-minute spot has been viewed more than 3 million times on YouTube. A shorter version of “Proud to Be” also aired in seven major markets during Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Both the new ad and the 2014 effort were produced by the Goodness MFG agency.
As with last year’s ad, the campaign is counting on social media buzz to generate publicity. The campaign is paying to promote the spot on Facebook, and is also considering placing it on moving screens in the District or in local cabs. As with recent robo-calls launched by the Change the Mascot campaign, Barkin said this spot is targeted at Washington-area residents.
Neither Change the Mascot nor Goodness MFG asked the NFL for permission to use the RGIII touchdown footage.
Separately, a D.C.-based non-profit organization is offering free “Love the Team; Hate the Name” bumper magnets. The magnets allow name opponents “to show your pride in the team and voice your view that the name simply must change,” according to a press release from The Morning Star Institute, the group founded by longtime Redskins name opponent Suzan Shown Harjo
Comedian Sarah Silverman also became the latest celebrity to call for a Redskins name change.
“I still can’t get my head around the whole Redskins [name],” she said on the Late Late Show. “Like, they’re still the Redskins? Are they still the Redskins? Seriously, what does it take to change with the times? The Redskins? It’s a racist [name]. I’m trying not to swear.
“You know what it reminds me of?” she went on. “I’ve been on both sides of this. Because it wasn’t long ago — a decade ago, less — that I was defending saying ‘gay.’ It’s gay, it’s queer, it’s gay. And I’d be like, ‘No, I have gay friends. I’m not talking about them. I’m saying gay like lame.’ And then I realized that I was the grandpa who was going, ‘I say colored! I have colored friends!’ It’s nothing different.
“Just change it,” she said. “You won’t notice in a week that you’ve changed the Redskins to the, whatever, Pink Poodles. It’ll take about a week to adjust your precious … what you’re used to, and be on the right side of history.”