With one of the NFL's most storied franchises announcing yesterday it will change its team name and imagery that has long been considered a slur against Native Americans, a powerful print ad that first appeared nearly 20 years ago by the National Congress of American Indians is receiving new attention for calling out the blatant racism of professional sports teams.
The ad, seen below, is being rediscovered and shared on social media in the wake of the news that the Washington football team will drop the R-word moniker and find a new name and logo to replace its 87-year-old nickname. The decision by Washington is the latest, but perhaps the most powerful, move by a sports team to rid itself of perceived racist names, imagery, and celebrations.
The print ad, created by the New York advertising agency DeVito/Verdi, clearly exposed the racist messaging when using an ethnic group as your sports team's nickname or logo. The ad was originally intended to put pressure on the Cleveland Indians baseball team to remove its "Chief Wahoo" emblem. The baseball team announced earlier this month that it was in discussions to identify a new name for the ballclub.
"This ad captures the essence of the problem so clearly, and makes it an unarguable discussion. Now, more than ever, the message demonstrates a problem that is hard to ignore and debate, and it's gratifying to see that finally sports teams are coming to terms with the ugly past," said Ellis Verdi, president of DeVito/Verdi.
DeVito/Verdi, a privately held company, has been recognized as one of the most exceptional creative agencies in the industry. It has been voted "Best Agency" six times by the advertising industry group, the AAAA, and has created some of the most memorable ad campaigns of the past 25 years. Its lengthy list of industry awards includes the top prizes at the Clios, Radio Mercury, Cannes, Andy, Addy and One Show award ceremonies.
DeVito/Verdi strives for excellence and maintains a unique level of prestige within the advertising industry, as evidenced by its work for such clients as Kohl's, The National Association of Broadcasters, BayCare Health System, Five Below, BevMo!, 7-Eleven, New York Institute of Technology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Sony, Canon, Duane Reade Drug Stores, BMW, 84 Lumber, Esquire Magazine, Men's Wearhouse, TimeOut Magazine, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Scripps Health, Grey Goose Vodka, UChicago Medicine, eCampus, Reebok, Legal Sea Foods, Office Depot, Appleton Rums, Pepsi/SOBE, Fallon Community Health Plan, Tribe Mediterranean Foods, Empire Kosher Chicken, Acura, CarMax, Sports Authority, Campaign for Freedom Post 9/11, Pro-Choice Education Project, Hillary Clinton for Senate, and others.