Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
American, 27, Football
The NFL’s MVP quarterback dabbing his way to success
Key partners: Under Armour, Microsoft, General Motors, Gatorade, Dannon Oikos Triple Zero
2015 ranking: New entry
Cam Newton is not your everyday quarterback. In the 2015 season, he was voted the National Football League’s (NFL) most valuable player, carrying the Carolina Panthers all the way to the Super Bowl, only to lose out to an expert defensive display from the Denver Broncos. Despite this, however, Newton’s pass completion rate of 60 per cent ranked a measly 28th in the NFL. For Newton isn’t a regular in-the-pocket passer, but is supremely gifted in rushing as well – a unique combination for a modern game QB. His input at both disciplines gave the Panthers a near-perfect, 15 wins and one-loss season.
Couple this technical ability with a unique connection to younger, digitally driven, social media engaged fans and you have a marketing juggernaut. Many older fans have condemned Newton for arrogance and poor sportsmanship but with the next generation of NFL fans, he really strikes a chord. His ‘dab’ celebration, first performed in a regular season game in October 2014, became an online sensation, sparking endless memes and viral videos, with other major sportspeople emulating it on the pitch.
Newton has joined Steph Curry, Bryce Harper and Carey Price in an Under Armour portfolio that includes every US major league MVP this year. Although Odell Beckham Jr may claim the spot as the NFL’s most recognisable star, Newton can certainly claim to be its most distinctive. TL
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