Athlete endorsements that need to happen

Photo Credit: NBA/Los Angeles Lakers

Photo Credit: NBA/Los Angeles Lakers

BY TROY PHILLIPS

Athletes endorse everything from phones to pharmecuticals. Unfortunately we’re often subjected to the same athletes pitching the same products in the same way. To liven things up a bit, Poor Scholars’ Troy Phillips gives us some original ad campaigns involving new athletes pitching different products. Because not everybody can be as real as Sammy Sosa.  

The world of athlete endorsements can be extremely uninspired. Yeah, Peyton Manning can talk football to his Buick and little kids don’t respect Aaron Rodgers’ “job”, but it all gets stale quicker than watching the Pro Bowl. Not many people are going to have a legitimate problem with Peyton or Rodgers as players, but seeing them in these common roles leaves fans and potential customers alike longing for more.

What consumers need is the opportunity to see some new blood in the advertising game, hawking products that people can actually go out and buy or use if the urge so arises. They may not be perfect, but this “second tier” of athlete endorsers would leave fans amused and intrigued about even the most mundane of commodities. It’s time for the misfits, the disappointments and the head cases to have their day. Here are a few products and athletes that would gel perfectly if given the chance.

Joakim Noah – Selsun Blue
The outspoken Bulls center is known for two things around the league: his terrific hustle and the abominable mass of hair that resembles the style of a WNBA star to the untrained eye. With all those extra locks on top of his head, that scalp probably hasn’t seen the light of day in years, which is where the Blue makes its’ entrance. Noah can’t have a head that looks like a snow-capped mountain dousing his fire on the court, which is why it’s a win-win for him to ink a deal with a leading anti-dandruff shampoo. Noah would bring  great energy to the commercials and ideally would develop a feud with Head and Shoulders aficionado Troy Polamalu. America is way overdue for a good shower product rivalry, and who better to deliver than the guy who already has public feuds with LeBron James and Kevin Garnett? I can already hear Bulls announcer Neil Funk: “Selsun Blue presents Joakim Noah Anti-Dandruff Shampoo Bobblehead night!”

Terrelle Pryor – Ebay
Pretty much everything has been listed on the world’s biggest online marketplace at one time or another, from old antiques to New Zealand. Pryor was caught selling signed memorabilia during his days quarterbacking Ohio State, which was later listed and sold on the popular bidding site from 2009-2010. Once thought to be a star quarterback in the making, Pryor now sits mired as Carson Palmer’s backup in Oakland with only 155 passing yards to his name after two years. Ebay, not normally known for using athletes in their advertising campaigns, could try to appeal to a new demographic while Pryor could get a chance to cut out the middleman and pocket money legally from the source. Clearly, all of the issues in Pryor’s life stem from not being able to sell his own memorabilia on Ebay, an obstacle that would infuriate any budding entrepreneur. I just hope that Raiders fans won’t be surprised to see their backup QB sitting on the bench, sharpie in hand, signing gear that will be up for sale later on. If Pryor is truly ambitious, he might think about bringing other teammates in on the operation, not that there are many lucrative options to choose from on the Raiders.

Metta World Peace – Hennessy
So many possibilities, so little space. In an interview with The Sporting News, World Peace admitted to kicking back with a glass of cognac at halftime during his Bulls days from 1999-2002. Even now, a decade removed from the incident, World Peace and Hennessy are an endorsement duo made in heaven. The commercial almost writes itself; MWP comes into the locker room at halftime after another disappointing Lakers first half, breathing hard and seemingly out of answers. He sits down and looks up to see a bartender standing in his locker, leisurely polishing a glass. The bartender sees “Ron Ron” and, without a word, pulls out a bottle of Hennessy, quickly whipping up a glass of cognac on the rocks. Suddenly, the locker room turns into a swinging jazz bar, and MWP is at the center of it all. He spins around and executes a perfectly choreographed dance with a mysteriously beautiful woman from across the room, still in his Lakers uniform. The room is abuzz as the former “Dancing With The Stars” last-place finisher ends the dance to an uproarious round of applause. Still basking in the glory, he turns back around and discovers that the locker room is back; and empty. He realizes that the second half has started and begins to walk back into the Staples Center, stumbling a bit as the screen fades to black. Like the Coors Light Train, only classier.

Quick Pitches

Manti Te’o – E Harmony: Because it’s never too soon to get back out there.
Adrian Peterson – Five Hour Energy: “Hour 1, I ran for 200 yards…. Hour five, I just did everyone’s post-game press conference for them while developing a cure for cancer.”
Demaurice Smith (NFLPA Director) – Life Alert: Want to persuade the NFL to increase its’ pension plan for retired players? Nothing like an “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” spot with a 40-year-old former lineman.
Michael Phelps – White Castle: If Phelps can’t fit a Crave Case into a 12,000 calorie diet, then who can? I know there’s an answer to that question, but who wants to know?
James Harden – NFL Network: An endorsement with crossover appeal, Harden would have no trouble beating out the current Thursday Night Football commercial guy for the best beard, and we all know that the TNF ads revolve around interesting facial hair.

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