More on Michael Phelps…

“Attention marketers, it is quarter to 12, the seats on this bandwagon are closing in 15 minutes. If you’d like to hitch your ride, please contact your nearest Octagon representative immediately.”

Check out this Yahoo article on all the endorsements Michael Phelps has lined up. If you’re a marketer on a big brand, are you ponying up to become one of the many sponsors, or are you steering clear to avoid getting lost in the fray?

Carlisle does limit the number of Phelps’ corporate endorsements, which include Visa, Speedo, AT&T, Omega, Kellogg’s, Pure Sport, Rosetta Stone and three to five more coming in six months.
Phelps already has plenty of exposure. After Athens, he landed on a dozen magazine covers and six national TV spots. Octagon created behind-the-scenes videos of swimmers, including one featuring the friendly rivalry between Phelps and Ian Crocker, another U.S. Olympic swimmer.

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As for Michael Phelps…

…see, it’s starting. We’ll be over-Phelpsed in no time.

The Death of Boxing

It’s a bummer too, because I used to be its big fan.

And marketers used to be its best friend. Remember when boxing was big and popular (ok, try really hard…and if you’re younger than 25, go look it up)? The days when there were great boxers up and down the divisions. The days when Mike Tyson was champion, and you didn’t even have to watch the fight because you know if you missed it he’d still be the champ in the morning. The days when boxing champions would command big spokesperson dollars – for everything from ad spots and shoe contracts to Wheaties boxes and video games.

Now, do you even know who boxes anymore, never mind who the champion is (c’mon, name 10 professional boxers, fast)? Even if you do put out an APB and find out who the champion is, is he relevant? Will he be champ in another month? Is he even known in North America, and does anyone even care about his likeness or his persona? If you had to give your opinion and name THE top boxer (let’s say Jerry Lewis pulls a gun out of his bag in the airport and points it at you, demanding a name), who would you say? An aging Roy Jones, who has declining skills and increasing other interests? Floyd Mayweather, who’d rather do about 6 other things than box at this point? Oscar De la Hoya (see Roy Jones above)? Kimbo Slice, who isn’t even a boxer?

Man, talk about a sport that has done NOTHING to promote its stars, or even promote its sport. It’s practically invisible now. Its like hockey, before hockey.

Marketers don’t like the obscure (unless it’s an obscure network of niche websites that delivers phenomenal targeting potential). They also don’t like things their customers perceive as unimportant, dishonest and uninteresting. Boxing can’t even get a scoring system that’s perceived as fair and reliable (it actually isn’t either, forget perception) for one of the biggest stages of all, the Olympics. Plus, all the various obscure championship belts and mega-fights that never happen due to one reason (money) or another (money) have watered down the sport and created zero in terms of anticipation and excitement.

RIP, boxing, I’ll miss you on my radar. Gotta go now, have to watch some obscure MMA fights on Spike TV.

How Long Before Michael Phelps is Worth More Than the GDP of a Small Country?

My guess is about a week from now.

Get used to Micheal Phelps if you haven’t already had a good, long look, because we’ll be seeing him in alot of places, like…um, everywhere. This man, the face of 2008 Beijing Olympics, with the oodles of gold around his neck, is about be the spokesperson for alot of stuff. As I write this post, an AT&T commercial just came on ESPN with him in it. A rabid fan is going crazy about him in the ad.

As a marketer, would you charge ahead and sign on to this bandwagon? The pros are certainly there in terms of the global awe surrounding his achievements and the clean-cut image. Yet, will we be over-Phelpsed in a few weeks? Will consumers be able to recall which product he’s signing off on, and asking you to sign onto, and when?

It’ll be fun to watch the big brands go head-to-head in a duel to leverage this man’s likeness in the most creative – and recall- and sales-generating – ways.