Concussion Legacy Foundation and Fingerpaint  

Tackle Can Wait

The public has become increasingly aware that contact sports — especially football — can cause concussions and brain damage. But while this campaign is hard-hitting, it also treads softly. The target audience, parents of young football players, adore football. They see it as a time-honored tradition and a formative part of countless childhoods.

The organization had plenty of data on the damage football can do. Even one hit can cause brain trauma and risk for the debilitating, deadly brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The earlier kids start playing tackle football, the longer they experience repetitive hits. 

Rather than come across as anti-football, it sought a strategy of delaying tackle until kids are 14 and older by instead having them play flag football.

A single nugget became the focal point for the entire campaign. Not only is there a strong correlation between starting tackle football at a young age and the development of CTE, that correlation is even stronger than that between smoking and developing lung cancer. 

In the PSA, parents and coaches give kids cigarettes and encourage them to light up. The point? Parents wouldn’t let kids smoke. They shouldn’t let them take hits to the head.

Besides generating an awe-inspiring amount of earned media, it’s also had a legislative impact.

Judges couldn’t get enough of this effort. “Simple and easy to get, without alienating those who want their kids to play football,” one says. “Juxtaposing football and smoking quickly bring the risks home to parents,” says another. 

Sponsor: GSW