NFL stars, led by Drew Brees, help Lowe’s improve hometowns across the US

In its third year as an official NFL partner, Lowe’s has launched a new campaign promoting the Lowe’s Home Team, a group of NFL athletes, Lowe’s associates and customers on a mission to DIY their way to the top – and help improve their hometowns along the way. This year, NFL fans have a new opportunity to ‘try out’ for the team.

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s is back with a second season of its ‘Home Team’ program in partnership with the NFL. Today, the brand launches a new campaign to promote its fan engagement and community service initiative. Super Bowl MVP and retired New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is the face of the project.

“We understand how powerful home is, and the Home Team is our key to marrying our NFL partnership to our overall mission of supporting the communities we serve,” says Lisa Schoder, Lowe’s vice-president of integrated media and partnerships. “Lowe’s is dedicated to empowering people everywhere through DIY to achieve their aspirations for home in a way that makes home improvement accessible, inspirational and affordable. The Lowe’s Home Team works in service of this goal by completing much-needed community impact programs throughout the country and this year by also inspiring fans at home to revitalize their own homes and communities.”

Stacking the team

Featuring representatives from all of the NFL’s 32 teams, Lowe’s Home Team project kicked off last year, with a goal “to unite fans around the connection and community we all crave during football season, even as fandom goes home”. With ‘captains’ and a ‘general manager’ (Brees’s role on this year’s squad), the team seeks to rally fans around the country and help improve their own ‘hometowns’ by supporting local businesses and community members with renovations and home improvement-related projects. Last year, team members also engaged in fan outreach and virtual events to keep fans connected during the Covid-19 crisis.

Schoder explains that while last year was a success, the retailer was determined to bring some new improvements to the program in 2021. For one, it selected Brees to lead the charge. Schoder believes Brees was the ideal frontman: “Drew is a known leader on the field and in the community – he was our first choice to represent Lowe’s as general manager of the Home Team.” Specifically, she points to the “inspiring” work Brees does with the nonprofit organization he founded with his wife, the Brees Dream Foundation. The organization aims to improve care, education and quality of life for young cancer patients and their families.

Plus, this year Lowe’s has expanded participation for its own employees – it added some 300,000 store associates to the team to support the community-focused efforts around the country, as well as coach at-home DIYers. A handful of Lowe’s Pros – customers enrolled in the company’s premium services and customer loyalty program – will also be selected to join the team.

DIY champions

The Home Team is back with a packed roster – and a new challenge inviting everyday consumers to secure a spot on the team. Launching today with two 15-second films and one 30-second film created by Deutsch LA, the campaign stars Brees alongside other NFL stars including Justin Fields, Christian McCaffrey, Travis Kelce, Calais Campbell and Kelvin Beachum.

“The TV spot brings to life the mission of the Lowe’s Home Team, showing NFL players, Lowe’s Red Vest associates, Pros and people everywhere working together to tackle home improvement projects,” says Deutsch LA’s executive creative director Sorenne Gottlieb. “Powered by teamwork, and with the spirit of their favorite NFL teams on display, the Lowe’s Home Team wins the home game.”

In the campaign’s anthem film ‘New Team’, athletes are pictured sporting blue Lowe’s Home Team jerseys. “There’s a new team in the NFL,” quips Brees. “One that plays for home – everyone’s home,” Campbell chips in. In the spot, the players join community members in home restoration projects, painting, drilling and laying new carpets. Following a peppy voiceover explaining that Lowe’s Home Team can “help you tackle any project”, viewers see a link encouraging them to ‘try out’ for the team.

The invitation is part of the new ‘Lowe’s Home Team Contest,’ which will occur in four separate ‘quarters’ throughout this year’s football season, spanning from September through December. In each quarter, fans will be challenged by NFL stars to a DIY project – ranging from a ‘home tailgating’ project to a ‘holiday team decorating’ task. Participants can submit photos and videos of their efforts to for a chance to join the team. Schoder says the retailer hopes that participants will visit Lowe’s to purchase supplies to participate. Those who are chosen to join the team will win a custom Lowe’s Home Team jersey designed by artist Marcus Rivero, who has created custom cleats for a number of NFL stars – part of the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats program. Winners will also be entered to win tickets to Super Bowl LVI.

Doing good for 100 hometowns

As part of the initiative, which launches during Lowe’s centennial year, the company has announced 100 ‘hometowns’. Lowe’s will initiate an improvement project in each of these communities, with Home Team members joining in to help complete eight of these projects this fall.

In fact, the Home Team’s efforts are already under way, according to Schoder. Former Patriots star and three-time Super Bowl champ Matt Light – who founded the Light Foundation, a youth-focused personal development nonprofit – helped young people in his hometown of Greenville, Ohio to build a 40-foot bridge. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin chipped in to repair six homes in Tampa. In West Baltimore this week, Ravens defensive end Calias Campbell lent a hand in creating a children’s garden at Allen AME Church. Lowe’s Home Team members will continue offering their services for good throughout the football season.

Swinging a sales win

The campaign could also help the retailer capitalize further on the surge of home improvement projects spurred on by the pandemic. Research by Home Advisor published in December of last year suggested that Americans took on 25% more home improvement projects in 2020 compared to 2019. Though it’s unclear whether this trend will hold through 2021, Lowe’s may yet benefit from promoting its products and services today.

The company’s 2021 Q2 sales dipped 1.6% compared to the same period last year. While this could simply suggest that home improvement projects are dipping back toward normal rates following last year’s surge, the company didn’t publicly cite any specific reasons for the drop in the press release it published last month.

Despite the sales decline, Lowe’s quarterly results indicate that sales comps are up 32% on a two-year basis; the company’s chairman, president and chief executive Marvin R Ellison lauded the organization’s “strong results”. Partnerships and branded initiatives such as the Lowe’s Home Team program could help drive brand awareness, engagement and, ultimately, sales.

To promote the Home Team project, the new marketing campaign will run across TV and social channels.

For more, sign up for The Drum’s daily US newsletter here.