Friday Perspective - Richard Sherman, the NFL's New Endorsement King

Every Friday I give quick perspectives, opinions and thoughts on the world of marketing and beyond. This week’s entry is below.


Earlier this week, in what has become an annual campaign aligned with the NFL season, Campbell’s released its new Chunky Soup ad featuring its NFL star of the year. You probably remember these ads from years past, featuring an NFL player and his mother (or an actor playing his mother). Some of the more memorable players to appear in the Campbell’s commercials are Terrell Davis, Donovan McNabb, Michael Strahan and Jerome Bettis.

This year’s Campbell’s NFL star is Richard Sherman. This endorsement deal is only the latest for Sherman, who over the past year has skyrocketed into the upper echelon of marketable NFL players. His on-field play, along with his loud personality and outspoken nature both on and off the field, has made him a dream for marketing execs. His work in the Campbell’s ad follows his memorable Beats by Dre spot and Madden NFL 15 cover status. In fact, Sherman may trail only the Manning brothers and Aaron Rodgers in terms of off the field marketing visibility.

Sherman certainly is maximizing his endorsement earning potential, but I wonder if it will last. I can’t recall any other cornerback, or even secondary position player, receiving this type of publicity and marketing potential. They simply don’t get the attention of a quarterback, running back, wide receiver or pass rusher. Consider a few of the most recent corners who could be called all-time greats and think about the national marketing or advertising appearances you recall seeing from them: Darrell Green, Rod Woodson, Deion Sanders, Ty Law and Charles Woodson. Only Sanders stands out among that group, and many of his endorsements came after he retired.

Maybe Sherman will end up being a trailblazer for NFL cornerbacks or it could be he will remain the anomaly. His personality and intelligence certainly set himself up well to remain extremely visible. This could just be the beginning. If he can keep his on-field play at an elite level, we may continue to see Richard Sherman all over our TVs and computer screens - and not only during games.


Over the past few years both my high school and my college have gone through rebrands. Neither seemed to need a rebrand, at least no data was provided to show the necessity; it merely felt like corporate America rubbing off on education. For a while it was very popular for corporations to spend marketing dollars on a rebrand - new logo, new identity, new values. As corporate execs took seats on education boards, they brought that experience with them.

In both of these education rebrands that are personal to me, I was left with a taste of dissatisfaction in my mouth. Rather than making slight adjustments that preserved the historical elements of each brand, significant visual changes were made. Colors were abandoned. Mascots were “updated” for current tastes, resulting in images that come off as sterile and generic.

Maybe I’m being too nostalgic, but a school’s history is part of its brand. You can’t market a school the same way you do a business. Here’s hoping more education administrators come to realize that. From my experience, these rebrands tend to alienate alumni more than they do anything to boost enrollment.


When did it become so popular for web publishers to cover TV shows? If you’re Entertainment Weekly or Grantland - I get it. But Mashable? Yes, I know Mashable has an entertainment section, but I usually just associated that with what I call distracting content - clickbait headlines, quizzes, the stuff you’ll generally find on Buzzfeed.

It’s not just Mashable though. I’m seeing more and more sites publish recaps to TV shows; and sites which don’t seem like logical fits for that type of content to appear.

I first noticed a few years ago when a few sites did this after every Mad Men episode. They’d recap and then speculate on what events from that episode meant or what’s to come. Then some began doing it with Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. More recently I’ve seen shows such as Fargo, The Leftovers, Penny Dreadful, Silicon Valley and True Detective heavily get the recap and analysis treatment.

This week I noticed Mashable post an episode recap of the CBS show Extant.

Really? This craze has now hit major network shows? And for a show like Extant? I admit I haven’t seen it, but nothing I’ve read has given me reason to add it to my DVR. It’s almost as if Mashable took a stab at trying to predict the next hot show to get ahead of this increasingly competitive recap/analysis game. Seems like publishers are reaching now.

This post is syndicated from its original publishing on LinkedIn.