NFL Stars Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Marshawn Lynch: No Phones At Dinner
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 04:46PM
NYSportsJournalism.com in Ad Campaigns, Common Sense, Jerry Rice, Marshawn Lynch, NFL, PSA, Steve Young, ad campaigns, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

November 13, 2018: NFL legends Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott and Harris Barton as well as Marshawn Lynch know that games can be lost if you are distracted.

They also know that family time during dinner can be wasted if you are too distracted.

Rice, Young, Lott and Barton — who each had stellar careers in the NFL, with many of the years spent as members of the San Francisco 49ers — and Lynch of the Oakland Raiders have joined with Common Sense for a PSA campaign, “Device-Free Dinner,” which takes a humorous look at an all-too-common problem.

According to Common Sense, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology, “Ninety-two percent of parents feel that quality conversations at dinnertime are very important for connecting with their kids, yet many worry that devices at the table are taking away from those moments.”

"Our devices keep us connected, informed, and engaged, but in today's tech-driven world it's important to take breaks," James Steyer, founder and CEO for Common Sense, said via the San Francisco-based organization

"Research shows that kids and adults alike feel addicted to their devices, and our need to constantly check them undermines family connections. Family interaction, including eating meals together, is critical for children's social and intellectual development."

In the campaign’s anchor spot, “Fumble,” Rice, Young and Barton act as game announcers describing the action as a family is seated at the dinner table, all of them engrossed with their own cell phones.

When mom asks for some green beans, dad lifts the plate without raising his eyes from his device and accidentally dumps the contents onto the table.

“Are you seeing this!?” says Young. “You can’t make a mistake like this so early in the meal.”

“Green beans all over the place,” say Rice, a Hall of Fame wide receiver. “Guess who would have caught the green beans . . . Jerry Rice.”

Lott shows up at the dinner table as a sideline reporter. “Why’d you spill the beans?” he asks dad. Lott then takes way all of their cell phones.

The PSA spot will air in 45-, 30- and 15-second versions nationally throughout the NFL season on networks including CBS, Fox, Cox, Xfinity, Charter and Comcast; across the participating NFL stars' social media channels; and on the 49ers and Raiders Web sites.

Digital and social media (#DeviceFreeDinner) support.

In "Hot Sauce,” Lynch is seen in his Bay Area restaurant encouraging a kid to cause some mischief (pouring hot sauce into his dad’s soda) to help teach his parents, distracted on their cell phones instead of interacting with their son, a lesson.

In “Kid Hat,” he hands the young boy his hat, which dad doesn’t notice until he looks up after drinking his hot-sauced soda.

“Marshawn says ‘No phones at the table!’”

According to Common Sense, “Research proves the benefits to kids of family dinners, such as vocabulary acquisition, fewer behavior problems, lower rates of substance abuse, and healthier eating patterns.”

Common Sense said it launched the Device Free Dinner campaign in 2016 to “raise awareness of media balance and encourage families to make the most of their time together.”

An earlier series of PSA featured actor Will Farrell as a dad too distracted by his cell phone and its various apps to talk to his family during dinner.

Common Sense partnered with Citron Haligman, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Camp + King and Anchorfield for the effort.

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