That's where SOS Heating and Cooling and its name, image and likeness deal came in.
A commercial created by the third-generation, family-owned heating and cooling company in Lincoln, Nebraska, has become one of the most viral NIL collaborations thus far. The pitch-perfect pairing led to an ad that has over 5 million views on Twitter, as of Wednesday afternoon, in what has been a flurry of engagement and response for the commercial.
According to Brian Kim, president of Relo Metrics, the response to the video has been overwhelming for the local company. The tweet alone is worth $105,000 in earned advertising to SOS.
"I had a good feeling we were onto something good and we would blow people away," SOS public relations director Jake Wasikowski said. "I had a feeling that once we put the commercial out, people would go crazy for it."
Crawford, a freshman from Shreveport, Louisiana, originally committed to LSU, but flipped his commitment to Nebraska and signed with the Huskers. That was when Wasikowski, and SOS owner Jon Stuehm, knew they had a chance to create a special partnership of a heating and cooling company and a football player with the name Decoldest.
"[NIL] wasn't something we had planned on doing or getting into, but it just happened to be the right situation at the right time," Wasikowski said. "We came up with this idea and if Decoldest is an All-American or not, we still want him to be a part of it and our spokesperson."
Business for the company picked up in the spring, so the creative process for the commercial was put on hold. Camp for Nebraska football players was fast-approaching, though, so they knew they needed to act quickly to put together the commercial with a local production company.
The company pushed the tweet button to publish the video on Aug. 12 and sat back to watch the numbers grow.
"It's incredible. We didn't expect any of this to be that big, but it took off Monday night and into Tuesday and the numbers just kept going," Wasikowski said. "We already have a winter commercial planned because we can't run a summer ad for four months."
While the financial details of Crawford's contract were not disclosed, he signed a year-long contract that will be revisited by Crawford and SOS at the end of the year. The company is, so far, thrilled with the results and said no matter if he has a good career, gets injured or never plays, they want to stick with Crawford given the perfect match they've created.
The company also said they have seen an uptick in calls coming in and noticed a number of five-star reviews on Google with comments about the commercial.
"It has been great for branding so far and that's something we've enjoyed is seeing people know the SOS name and loving what we made," Wasikowski said. "That always helps the business, so we'll see how it turned out in terms of actual return on investment sometime soon, but everybody we know that knows anything involving sports has been contacting us and saying how cool it is to see our commercial."