Brands grab the attention of children and adolescents by using pro athletes they idolize for endorsements.
Children are encouraged to “dream big,” and for many of them, that big dream is to one day be a professional athlete. Many kids keep this dream long into adolescence and spend their entire childhood embracing their fandom of these big name athletes. Kids see athletes as super heroes and role models who embody what they hope to accomplish when they grow up.
With that, kids put an enormous amount of weight into what pro athletes say and how they behave. This provides brands with an opportunity to tie their brand to an athlete and reach the youth market.
Perhaps the most iconic of all athlete endorsements belongs to Wheaties Cereal. Since they first partnered with professional baseball in the 1930s, Wheaties has partnered with top athletes to identify itself as the food brand to fuel your body. Children for generations have looked to Wheaties and seen their favorite sports stars grace the front of the box, picking up the product in hopes of achieving the same heights as those pictured.
Another way to effectively reach the youth market with sports celebrities is by having them use the product themselves.
Gatorade used pro athletes to inspire kids and reinforce the idea that they can grow up to be anything they want if they work hard. In their ad campaign Never Lose the Love, they feature Usain Bolt and Serena Williams being cheered on by their younger selves.
By showing kids in the ad, Gatorade is able to relate to children and show them that by drinking Gatorade like these athletes, they one day too can reach the same success.
Even brands that don’t come to mind when thinking of sports can leverage pro athletes. The toy brand Little Tikes used pro athlete Lebron James to reach young aspiring athletes by integrating him into their products and brand.
Little Tikes boasts that LeBron got his start on a Little Tikes hoop and now kids can too. Little Tikes has a range of different products with LeBron’s name and picture. The official partnership is between the brand and the LeBron James Family Foundation, which has a mission to better the lives of children and young adults.
By literally using the face of LeBron James on their products, Little Tikes is able to reach and have an impression on kids who look up to LeBron and want to take the same steps he has taken to success.
photo credit: Mike Steele via Flickr