Pictures of their food before they eat.
Pictures of their pets being cute on their couch.
Pictures of shoes on your an athlete’s feet before the game.
These are some of the unnecessary, but rather interesting, tidbits of information that are being funneled from professional (and amateur) sport figures to their fans. However, as quick as it is to post a picture or say something funny to your followers, it is just as easy for a naive, young athlete to piss off the masses and open the can of holy shit.
Whether they’ve ever been trained as a tight-roper or not, every modern athlete is balancing their career and livelihood upon the tight rope of scrutiny and public opinion; talent is only the small knot at each side.
Put another way, the 2010s is just one big science class and every single day is experiment day because you never really know what type of huge reaction is going to happen. Who’s our favorite specimen? Who are we always watching under the microscope? Celebrities. Both athletes and entertainers.
ESPN and sports publications are filled with news on athletes just doing the wrong things off the field/court. It seems like there is an endless stream of allegations and hearings on domestic violence. And you are telling me that brands want to continue to chalk their name up next to a high profile athlete, just waiting for something to come along and smear it and make that name not as clear and legible as it once was??? Bullcrap!! Brands are nervous as ever!
The days of major sponsors relying on a single celebrity endorser are numbered and extinction is inevitable. With one celebrity endorsement, a brand is only one allegation/scandal/picture/comment away from needing major repositioning.Subway has done a great job at mitigating their risk by using five or six endorsers coupled with shorter-term campaigns. I foresee this becoming the norm.
A number of brands like Mastercard (George Brett), Foot Locker (Karl Malone and Tracy McGrady), Crown Royal (Julius Erving), New Era (Jackie Robinson), and Jockey (Babe Ruth) have actually taken a major step back on present-day athletes and turned more towards retired players and even dead legends. Both brands and agencies are starting to realize that you just can’t be sure with a modern athlete. They may seem great, but their legacy is set in cement yet. With players like Babe Ruth, you know their legacy and they will always be an iconic legend of American sports. With retired players and deceased players, their reputations and consumer appeal are not going to change overnight; it’s going to make a lot more to break the love fans hold in their hearts for these icons.