Brands Seize Advantage Using Sports Stars to Reach Youth Market via Celebrity Marketing

wheatiesBrands 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

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Celebrity Marketing: Adding An Athlete Can Improve Your Brand’s Bottom Line

Stephen Curry for Degree

Stephen Curry for Degree

Three interesting facts and tips about athletes and endorsements.

Choosing the right one

Choosing an athlete for your brand is one of the more difficult parts of celebrity marketing.  Brands look for different characteristics in athletes both on and off the field.  On the field characteristics generally speak for themselves; anything to do with skill level, performance, potential ability, or style of play all help brands make a decision on which athlete they want to use for their campaign.  As a result many brands look to sign players with the potential to become the next superstar.  For example, Steph Curry signed a variety of deals with multiple brands as he started to emerge as an NBA talent. Then, in 2015, Curry won the MVP and the NBA Finals, making him infinitely more valuable to brands.  The brands who signed him prior to his breakout season benefited immensely from this.

Another important aspect to consider when signing athletes to deals is their off the field qualities.  Things like their personality or charisma, how well they interact with fans, their looks, and their background are all important.  A good example is David Beckham, who ticks off all the good measurables from that list. Combined with the fact that he is a world class player it is no wonder Beckham is such a sought after name in the advertising industry.

Finally, it is important to consider how the athlete is viewed by the targeted audience. Ensuring that the sport is popular in the campaign’s region and making sure the demographic in question likes the team the athlete plays for are both important things to consider when choosing an athlete.

Adds 4% to sales

Athletes can bring plenty to the table in terms of success. A study by Harvard Business School concluded that athletes bring in up to 4% more in sales than other celebrities.  This number may sound relatively small but it translates to gains of over 10 million dollars annually.  In addition, this study also concluded that an athlete’s performance over time goes hand in hand with sales.  For example, if a player wins a championship, the amount they bring in for the exact same promotion or ad rises.

How much the athletes make

A contributing factor in signing an athlete to a brand is the endorsement money.  This is one area that athletes are especially keen on.  This is because endorsements tend to make athletes much more money than their typical salary.  According to a study by Forbes, LeBron James makes 53 million dollars from endorsements, compared to only 19 million from his salary and winnings.

photo credit: Degree/Unilever (Disclosure: Unilever is a Burns Client)