The fine art of personal branding

With 2012 having only just begun, most in the United States are already overwhelmed by an onslaught of campaign ads.  With President Obama facing re-election later this year, it is the Republicans’ turn to force-feed their ideology to the American public via 30 second TV ads.  Just imagine a gun-toting, middle-aged man barking about freedom from the atheistic liberals.

And while the idea of suffering through another nine months of hyperbolic nonsense is painful at best, it has me thinking … why don’t professional athletes do the same?

So, why are you such a douche?

Sure, endorsing products is a much more lucrative way for an athlete to publicize his personal brand, but what if you saw a paid advertisement from the athlete himself?  Some would say Lebron James and ESPN tried this when James announced he was leaving Cleveland for Miami.  Problem being that was more of a Lebron infomercial, not a commercial.  That didn’t work for the same reasons people prefer texting as opposed to talking.  Anyone who has ever ignored a call from their parents the morning after a heavy bender knows exactly what I’m talking about.  Instead of sitting around for thirty minutes trying to blow yourself – as Lebron and ESPN did – I want a simple, quick blast of information.

The most violent reaction to an infomercial ever

For instance, with the NFL season nearly over, why shouldn’t Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees put out 30 second spots campaigning for the league’s MVP.  Better yet, Tim Tebow could put out an ad out asking why so many people hate him.  Maybe something like this:

“Hi, my name is Tim Tebow and I would really like it if you liked me.  Sure I’m not an ideal quarterback; I certainly don’t have great stats, but – much like my savior Jesus Christ – I single-handedly resurrected the Denver Broncos.  Do you like an underdog? If so, please join me, Tim Tebow, as I kill ‘em with kindness all the way to the top!” 

Of course as soon as that was released, Tom Brady would have to respond.  Brady, cool as a cucumber, would wait a few days and leak a video on Youtube.  Why Youtube? Brady wants to be the quarterback of the people.  Though the cost of making the ad will be just as expensive as Tebow’s, by making it viral Brady appears to be ‘in touch’ with his audience.  The video wouldn’t actually feature Brady himself, but rather his wife – supermodel Gisele Bundchen.  Brazil’s most popular export would be wearing nothing but her husband’s game jersey while stomping Tebow’s Broncos the week before Christmas.  As the camera begins to pan in on Gisele, she poses the following question:  “Tebow … SERIOUSLY???”

Brady... seriously?

Would this spark a petty, manufactured rivalry? Indeed.  And provide even more pointless banter between journalists and fans? Absolutely.  But like those political ads we are already sick of, we would never turn them off.

By RJ Karas

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