June 08, 2011

Brand Endorsement ROI

I’m a Roger Federer fan. I set my alarm to wake up on Sunday (at 9 am) and watch with the hopes of him beating Nadal in the final match of the French Open. Well it wasn’t in the cards this year. But while watching the French Open this past weekend I couldn’t help but notice both Roger and Rafa are Nike men. I’m sure I’ve noticed it before but for some reason this year I was distracted by it and the other brand placements.

Addison Whitney is headquartered in Charlotte, also known as NASCAR headquarters. I think the reason the French Open brand placements were so vivid to me was because I had watched the start of the Coca-Cola 600 the weekend before and was amazed at all of the places a logo could go – behind the steering wheel, all over the cars and on the driver. All I could think of was how is this placement a worthwhile investment? How is the ROI measured and justified? In my head the potential conversation might go like this: Me: “Hi Boss, I’d like to spend $20,000 to put our logo behind Dale Jr’s steering wheel.” Boss: “Beth Anne, no. Get out.”

And then I remembered Michael Jordan and Nike. Who didn’t want to be just like Mike? (Do you remember the Gatorade song? “I wanna be, I wanna be like Mike.”) I won’t lie. Young Beth Anne was decked out in Nike and Chicago Bulls gear despite living in Atlanta.

Are today’s athletes really so influential that they can influence brand preference? NASCAR fans are loyal. But do Denny Hamlin fans only use FedEx as opposed to UPS because he endorses it? Again, I love Roger Federer, but I’m not going to seek out Nike or Gillette over other brands because of his endorsement (in all fairness, I am a woman, not a man so I don’t know if that makes a difference).

What do you think about athlete endorsements and the value? Do these endorsements really make a strong impact on a brand or are they just a means to increase awareness?


And don’t worry your pretty little head Roger, you’ll get him next year at Roland Garros (and hopefully next month at Wimbledon).

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