Friday, January 6, 2012

Brand Yourself on Nick Symmonds

You may have seen the other day that multiple US 800m Champ and previous member of Olympic Teams, Nick Symmonds, has put his most valuable realty up for sale, to the highest bidder, of course.  And ladies, before you get any ideas, I'm not talking about his package (Maggie Vessey has dibs on that).
I'm talking about his shoulder.

Yes, folks, now YOU can stamp your name on this hot commodity for the ENTIRE 2012 season, which includes highly visible meets such as the Prefontaine Classic, USA Olympic Trials, the Monaco Diamond League Meet, and, assuming he makes it, the Olympic Games in London.  All you have to do is bid!  If you are the winner, Symmonds will temporarily tattoo your Twitter username on his shoulder.

After a highly publicized battle between athletes and the USATF last month, during which athletes fought for their right to earn a living from sponsors, the USATF let up on their rigid rules a tad.  And this is what resulted.  Symmonds was probably THE most vocal athlete during the proceedings, and earned William Wallace status among the other athletes.  With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that he would be the first to do something like this.

He shared the link on his Twitter account (@nysmm800) and bidders were quick to the computer.  The current bid sits at $1875 (50 bids), and with 8 days left in the bidding, it would be reasonable to expect this to go up.  The question is, how much is this kind of exposure really worth?

The short answer: a lot more than $1875.  People are probably looking at this as a novelty.  Say Symmonds pulls in $3000 for this bid.  Symmonds gets $3000.  The winner will have their Twitter name tattooed on Symmonds' shoulder.  In an average track meet, total exposure time for Symmonds is likely 5 minutes (2 minute race, pre/post-race interview, pre-race or pre-commercial promotions).  While here in America, our track and field viewership might be a little smaller than the rest of the planet, particularly Europe, that still amounts to 5 minutes on national television (NBC, Universal Sports, ESPN).  Not to mention the incredible amount of exposure he's going to receive for pulling this move to begin with.  Symmonds is a well-spoken athlete, attractive, and likeable.  The reporters gravitate to him.  His energy is contagious.  He doesn't even have to do well in the race, it doesn't matter.

If I were a company, a brand, any kind of marketer, I would be licking my chops to get a piece of this property.  Think about it.  Millions, if not a billion people, will be watching the Olympics.  Smaller numbers will watch the other meets, but they are still big events.  Every time the camera pans across his lane, you'll see the tattoo.  The camera will focus on it.  Then, every single person who is watching at home and has either their smartphone or laptop handy will go to that Twitter handle. 

For whoever wins this bid, you better be prepared to give the world something good.  I really hope some emo little girl doesn't win this and gain tens of thousands of followers. 

Nate Brigham weighed in with his thoughts:

"I think it's sad an athlete feels like he has to go down this road to support himself.  It's a shame that he's not sponsored better given the level of success he has achieved.

However, I do think it's brilliant.  I think Twitter's simplicity and mobility are [its] greatest strengths, and the idea of putting a Twitter handle invites viewers to learn more.  I know if I see a Twitter handle somewhere I wouldn't expect it, I search it.  I wonder how the IAAF, USOC, and USATF will all try to outlaw this, as we've seen in the past, they're not about protecting athletes; they're about making money.  If they're losing sponsorship/advertising dollars to individual athletes, this upsets their universe.  Imagine McDonald's pulling some of their ads because all of the USA Olympic basketball team has temporary tattoos of @mcdonalds on their arms?  Everyone would freak out!  Symmonds is ahead of the curve on this,  (90s reference coming here...) much like 'My So Called Life' was a show ahead of its time."

What do YOU think?  Sound off in the comments section.  Should we all chip in and get @BMoreRunning on his arm?  And, more importantly, why isn't Maggie Vessey (@maggiekicks) doing this??  Her body is a hot commodity, too!

1 comment:

scotty doesn't know said...

while i agree that it's kinda cheesy, i have no problem with it - don't the beach volleyball players do the gatorade lightning bolts tattoos on their shoulders?