The Shaq Endorsement

Wheaties wanted Shaq to be on the cover after he won his first championship with the Los Angeles Lakers. He declined.

Wheaties wanted Shaq to be on the cover after he won his second championship with the Los Angeles Lakers. He declined.

Then Shaq told his people to call Frosted Flakes or Fruit Loops and he would be happy to be on the cover of that. He turned down Wheaties because he never ate it so he said he can’t do it.

Shaq says of his brand deals  “People look at them as endorsements. I look at them as partnerships.” He added “I’m very picky. If I’m not in tuned to the product, if I don’t like the product I won’t do it.”

Superstar athletes have global influence, persuasive power and wider reach. Influencer marketing is popular than ever and their impact on consumer behavior is profound. A Forbes article cited “authenticity is the key to capture the heart of today’s consumer.” The same article also cited that “PepsiCo Gatorade and FRS refuse to hire celebrities who have never used their products or don’t like them. FRS in fact, requires each to have a true, authentic story behind their passion for the FRS products.” Endorsing products that the athletes actually use not only creates more trust among their target audience, it also tremendously benefits the brand. Authenticity is the way to go.

Wouldn’t it be nice when athletes actually use the products they endorse? How often does Beyonce drink Pepsi or LeBron eats McDonalds? Whose responsibility is to inform the consumer about the not so healthy benefits of frequently drinking Pepsi or eating at McDonalds? Or should we just leave all the decision making to consumers because ultimately in a capitalist society all they want is better choices?

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