Is Michael Vick Endorsement-Ready?
Commentary by Al McClain
Over the years, we’ve had numerous discussions
on celebrity endorsements and advertising on RetailWire, and my recollection
is that most readers have felt that it’s not worth the risk. There are
many bad things that celebrities can do to ruin your brand, and often they
do those things.
But, one of the interesting things about celebrity endorsers
who go bad is that sometimes they work their way back into the public’s
good graces. O.J.
Simpson still sits firmly on the “bad” list (and in jail); but
Martha Stewart came back stronger than ever. Tiger Woods is sort of back in
good favor. Basketball star Kobe Bryant and NFL star Ray Lewis have both
mostly recovered from past serious transgressions to regain lucrative endorsement
dollars. But here comes Michael Vick, one celebrity that seemed to be down
for the count as a pitchman.
The star quarterback, who now plays for the Philadelphia
Eagles, reportedly earned about $100 million a year in salary from the Atlanta
Falcons and endorsements from companies including Nike, Coca-Cola, Kraft,
EA Sports and Hasbro prior to serving 23 months for operating an illegal dog
Yet, according to a recent piece in AdAge, Mr. Vick has
signed on as a pitchman for Woodbury Nissan in New Jersey, appearing in a video
spot that has gone viral (and is running on cable TV, according to BostonHerald.com). Mr.
Vick has done his prison time, apparently worked out his anger and emotional
issues, and now works with the Humane Society as a quasi-spokesperson. And,
(shudder the thought to many), he is now interested in acquiring a dog as a
According to AdAge, Mr. Vick is not being paid for the spot,
except that he has access to a luxury car. In the article, Darren Marshall,
SVP of the sports marketing firm Revolution, says “…the whole
image makeover is almost complete.”
Presumably, Mr. Vick’s agent
has set up this deal as the first step in securing larger, more lucrative sponsors. Meanwhile,
Mr. Vick has led his team to first place in the NFC East, his jersey is again
among the best sellers, and he is the leading vote-getter for the NFL’s
Discussion Questions: Does Michael Vick deserve a second chance as
a celebrity endorser? In what situations, if any, should signing a pitchman “on
the rebound” be explored?
- Michael Vick Dips
Toe Back in Marketing Water for Nissan Dealership – Advertising
Vick gets back into endorsement game